Waiting for My Real Life to Begin

The life and times of a girl named Swishy.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I'm just happy I'm not in jail

So. A few months ago, I realized I never got the registration renewal in the mail for my car. Registering your car here is an ordeal. You have to go to like 20 different places, and in even years you have to do this, and in odd years you have to do that, and really? I'm supposed to keep track of all that? So I go to the DMV to try to get a printout of my renewal notice, and they won't give me one. I ask them what I need to get (emissions? inspection? property tax receipt?) and they tell me to refer to my renewal notice. Which they won't give me. And around and around we go. Needless to say the registration was not renewed that day.

Three days after that debacle, all the stuff goes down at work, and renewing my registration takes a backseat to figuring out my entire life. I'm like, why should I waste DAYS of my life getting it registered if I'm just gonna get rid of my car or register it somewhere else? So, in the meantime, until everything gets figured out, I've been playing a fun little game of keep-away with the cops. If I see a police car in my mirror, I immediately pull off onto a side street or into a parking lot until they drive by. It's thrilling and stressful and completely juvenile, all at once. It's like The Fugitive, only without Tommy Lee Jones and the one-armed man.

So over the weekend, I'm driving to the gym, and I see a state trooper in the high school parking lot. (Hello, random.) A couple seconds later, he turns onto the road and I'm like, what do I do ... pull off, keep going, pull off, keep going ... and then I think, Swish, you are SO neurotic, he's a state trooper, he's just going to get on the highway, and besides, this little game you keep playing with the police? It's RIDICULOUS. YOU ARE NOT IN A MOVIE STARRING HARRISON FORD. BE A GROWN-UP.

So I keep driving. And, indeed, he heads for the highway ... until all of a sudden he cuts over into my lane. I wait a second, and then I move into the other lane. He moves over behind me. I move back. He follows me. At this point the little alarm goes off in my head and I'm like, ABORT! ABORT! ABORT! I throw on my blinker, turn off onto a side street, and ... too late. There they are, those red and blue lights I've come to love.

I seriously do not care about being pulled over. I know I deserve it, I know I'm lucky I haven't been pulled over sooner, I know. I'm actually a little relieved, because he'll give me a ticket and that'll buy me 30 days of guilt-free driving before I have to do anything (they won't ticket you for that more than once in a 30-day period). And by then hopefully I'll have my stuff figured out. So, you know, win-win. Sort of.

He comes up to my window: "Do you know you're driving with an expired registration?"

Yes, I say, but of course I don't leave it there. I have to give him my whole life story: "So I went to the DMV, and I told them I didn't get my thing, and they were like, you don't need the thing, but then I was like, well, then why does it say it's mandatory? And they said because it IS mandatory ... but then they wouldn't give it to me! AND they wouldn't tell me what else I needed, and I know I need my personal property tax, but I don't know if I need the emissions and whatever else too, and I know you can do it every two years but I do it every year, so it's always confusing ... and, you know, by the way, supposedly I'm supposed to be moving next month, but I don't even know what's going on at work because they won't tell me, and they were SUPPOSED to tell me last week but they didn't, so SUPPOSEDLY they'll tell me this week, but, you know, I'll believe THAT when I see it, so ..."

He gets this look like, seriously, they don't pay me nearly enough for this shit. The strung-out drug addicts, the midnight shootouts at the strip club, the high-speed chases, fine. But Miss High Maintenance driving down the street with an expired registration? No, thank you.

And then he looks at me, and it goes from bad to worse. "So," he says, "were you wearing your seatbelt when I pulled you over?"

I point at my seatbelt, which is securely fastened as I sit in an upright position. "Yeah."

"You were wearing your seatbelt?"
"You sure about that?"
"You were wearing it when I stopped you?"
"Why are you lying?"
"You weren't wearing it. I saw you."
"When you pulled me over? Yes, I was too wearing it."
He starts yelling--YELLING--at me. "You're lying! Why are you lying to me? It's only a 10-dollar ticket!"
"Well, if it's only a 10-dollar ticket, why are you YELLING AT ME?"
Still yelling: "Because you're LYING."
"I'm NOT lying." I give him a dirty look. "What do you need? My license?"
"I need you to admit you put on your seatbelt after I stopped you."
"Well, I didn't."
"I don't know why you won't just admit it."
"Because I DIDN'T." Pause. "License and ...?"
"License and insurance. And for you to admit you're lying."
"OK, but I'm NOT."

We continue to bicker while I rummage past the spare tampon, pink pen and 16 hair things in my glove compartment and unearth my insurance. It does not, for one second, occur to me that perhaps I should not be bickering with a man who's carrying a gun, pepper spray and possibly a taser. Instead, I'm acting like he's my boyfriend and we're fighting over whether I ate the last piece of Jello No-Bake Cheesecake out of the fridge. ("I didn't!" I say. "I saw you put it in your mouth!" he says. And so on.)

He comes back with my ticket, because CLEARLY I am not charming my way out of anything here. Before he can even say a word, I stick my head out the window and give him my brattiest "channeling a petulant 13-year-old" look. "You know, I don't really understand why you have to yell at me. Why is that necessary?"
"OK, well, why is it necessary to lie?"
"I DIDN'T. I didn't TECHNICALLY have it on ALL the way the ENTIRE time, but it WAS on when you pulled me over, which is what you asked."
(I demonstrate what I'm taking about.)
"Is that the way you're supposed to wear your seatbelt?"
"No ... but why do you have to YELL?"

He pauses, and really, we could go either way here. I could be hauled off, kicking and screaming, to the county jail or ... "OK," he says. "I'm sorry."
"It's all right," I say. "I'm sorry, too."
"I really hope you make the decision to renew your registration," he says.
"OK," I say. "I will. I hope you have a good rest of the day."
"All right," he says. "Make sure you wear your seatbelt."

I am going to renew my registration this weekend. And I have properly worn my seatbelt ever since. I am not conceding a thing, however, when it comes to the Jello No-Bake.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Damn you, American Idol

I don't know how you did it. I was noncommittal all season. Sometimes I'd watch, sometimes I wouldn't. Sometimes I'd flip the TV over to Fox for a couple minutes to see if I could pinpoint the exact substance Paula had been using, or to get a little Simon fix, or to study Jason Castro so I would know what one of my coworkers was talking about when he'd IM me "Jason Castro is A GIANT TOOL" every Wednesday morning. But right there at the end, when I least expected it, you sucked me in, American Idol. YOU SUCKED ME IN AND HUGGED MY SOUL AND BROUGHT TEARS TO MY COLD, CYNICAL EYES!

I love David Cook and I love this song and I love the way he sang it and I played it a million times at work today. And tonight, when big David had his arm around little David's shoulders, and Ryan Seacrest did his whole "Your American Idol is David (dramatic pause) Cook!" thing, I am not ashamed to say I completely got goosebumps and a tiny little lump in my throat, like I was being cuddled up in one giant, feel-good blanket.

(For the record, though, can I just say that I think Simon completely played all of America? I think he purposely called out David Cook during the finale just to make everyone rush to his defense with their mad little speed dialing and text messaging fingers. And you know what? IT WORKED. As soon as the show ended, even though I hadn't voted all season, I was like, I HAVE TO VOTE FOR DAVID COOK. Simon Cowell, mastermind and psychological genius. He could totally reverse-psychology the entire country into walking around without their pants if he wanted to, I just know it.)

Of course, David Cook probably could, too. IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

Monday, May 19, 2008


HOLY CRAP! Remember the government spy that was in my coffee shop, lo, those many months ago? He's back, and he brought his laptop and his "I have a shadowy past" stubble with him. He's sitting in the booth next to me, and he is completely staring at me and I am completely staring at him. It's basically a staring contest. Because I KNOW he remembers I was the girl who took sneaky surveillance pictures of him and told the world he was a secret spy, and he KNOWS I know, and ... yeah.

I am pretty sure this is how it's going to go down: He'll stake things out for a while. I'll get up to leave. I'll be walking down the stairs to my car when all of a sudden I'll hear footsteps behind me and, before I can even turn around, there will be a hand gripping my arm and a voice in my ear saying something like, "There's a black Lincoln town car parked at the end of the street. Do not stop at your car. Do not use your phone. Do not turn around. Walk straight ahead and get into that car." And I'll do it, because, well ... because I'm an idiot. But YOU watch TV! No one ever DOESN'T do it! I HAVE to do it! Besides, what if there's a bomb strapped underneath my car? Or a sniper perched on the roof of the coffee shop ready to shoot if I try to run? I watched Alias, OK? I know how it works.

So I get into the backseat, and there's a driver in the front, and he throws a black eyemask at me: "Put that on," he says. So I do, and then we drive along bumpy roads for a little while, and I try to remember the turns, you know, left, right, left, left, so when I make my great escape I'll know where to go, and then about 15 minutes later the car stops and he tells me I can take the blindfold off now. We're parked outside an old, abandoned warehouse, and he tells me to go inside. I walk over to the building slowly, hesitantly, thinking, well, if I have to die today, at least my apartment's clean and my bills are all paid and I'm having an OK hair day. I open the door, and standing inside, next to two chairs, is ... it's the government spy! He tells me to sit down, and then he explains everything. His name is Zack Mauer, and he's on a very top-secret mission--a top-secret mission I almost compromised thanks to my, quote, "Internet shenangians." He's been in hiding for the past eight months, and now he can't hide anymore--but I know who he is, so I have to go with him. Plus, he could use my help. "You DO take good surveillance photos," he tells me grudgingly, and I have to admit I'm flattered. But my mental self-congratulations are interrupted by a loud crash at the far end of the warehouse, and Zack Mauer springs into action, grabbing my arm with one hand and his gun with the other: "We've got to go," he exclaims. "I'll explain the rest on the way."

Of course, none of that has happened yet. Right now, he's drinking coffee and I just refilled my Diet Pepsi. But it MIGHT. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 16, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things

* Laughing so hard I can't breathe, so much that it gives me one of those "my brain's been deprived of oxygen for too long and now I have a little bit of a dizzy headache" kind of headaches.
* The way my hair looks sometimes at the end of the day, which I have tried and tried to duplicate during the day to no avail.
* The hours of 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
* Sitting on the bathroom counter with my feet in the sink, listening to the radio, while I'm getting ready in the morning.
* Talking to myself.
* Other people telling me they like talking to me, too.
* Dangly earrings.
* Sitting on my couch, leaning against two or three cushions stacked on one end with my feet propped up on the other end, under my fuzzy green blanket. I will never, ever, ever throw away that couch. EVER.
* My delicious vanilla candle that makes my apartment smell like cookies.
* Getting one of my magazines in the mail, especially one of the ones that comes on a random day (today was InStyle day! yay!)
* Finding live or acoustic versions of songs I already like.
* Making a real CD instead of just a playlist on iTunes. Which is what I did the other day. The songs on it ...

-Chocolate, Snow Patrol (live). One of my favorite songs ever. I love the drums and then the first line: "This could be the very moment I'm aware I'm alive."
-Hands Open, Snow Patrol. Another opening line I love: "It's hard to argue when you won't stop making sense." Also, inexplicably, I love the line that starts: "Put Sufjan Stevens on ..." I have no idea why.
-Sweetness, Jimmy Eat World (live). Not my favorite Jimmy Eat World song, but it is soooo fun when they play it at concerts.
-Black Balloon, Goo Goo Dolls (live). I like the instrumental part in between the first two verses, and then when he's like, "A thousand other boys could never reach you, how could I have been the one?"
-Where Does the Good Go, Tegan and Sara (live). I have listened to the original only a billion times, so it was time to switch it up.
-Lazy Eye, Silversun Pickups. OK, I don't think it is possible to really like this song unless you see the video. It's about completely, COMPLETELY liking someone, but trying to play it cool (you're watching them the entire time, but out of the corner of your eye ... hence the lazy eye). I don't usually like yell-y parts in songs, but I like this one: "I said I relate. I said we relate. It's so fun to relate." You know how sometimes you can be talking to someone and you're like, "Oh, my gosh, ME TOO!" I think those are some of the very best moments in life. It IS so fun to relate!
-Good Things, Bodeans (live). When I hear this song, I picture two people in the very beginnings of liking each other and ... I don't know. It's just cute. No games, no trying to be something else ... just, I like you. This is a good thing. WE could be a good thing.
-Omaha, Counting Crows (live). Kind of like the Jimmy Eat World one ... it's not my favorite of theirs, but it's one of their best live songs. This song is mentioned in a book I like, and it's described as one of those songs that's kind of melancholy and upbeat at the same time, which I think is a perfect description.
-Good Enough, Crosby Loggins. This is in honor of my friend, who watched Rock the Cradle religiously and loves him.
-Come on, Get Higher, Matt Nathanson. I like listening to it on airplanes while I look out the window. Random, I know, but I do.
-Swing Life Away, Rise Against. It's one of those songs I forget about a lot and then I hear it and I'm like, oh, yeah, I like that song.
-After Tonight, Justin Nozuka. I went through a stretch where I would be up really late and have VH1 on in the background, and this song ALWAYS came on at the same time and then I would have it stuck in my head. So I downloaded it to get it unstuck.
-Last Request, Paolo Nutini. I was working late last week, and once everyone was gone I turned up some music and this song came on. I sort of just had this moment where I sat there in the quiet, dark office, listening to this song, and ... I don't know. It just hit me, in a very poignant way.
-Different, Acceptance (live). Love the song, needed a new version.
-Babylon, David Gray (live). I love this line and the way he sings it: "If you want it, come and get it." It also reminds me of this scene from Friday Night Lights, quite possibly my most favorite FNL scene ever.
-Real Love, Regina Spektor (live). A cover of the Beatles song. So sweet, simple and romantic: "Seems that all I was really doing was waiting for you."
-The Heart of the Matter, India Arie. Another cover. I think this is such a great song ... like, for some reason, I really hear the lyrics in this version as opposed to the original, and they're just so pretty. Good job, Don Henley.

And finally ... my little blog turned two years old last week, and I am constantly amazed by all of the smart, funny, nice people who come to say hi and read what I have to say. You are all definitely among my favorite things, and thank you so, so much for that. To celebrate, tell me one of your favorite things and I'll pick a winner on Monday, who will get a copy of that CD (see? there WAS a point to the song rundown!) along with a few of my other favorite things. (NOT my couch. It's mine, and it's too big anyway. But some other fun stuff.)

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Reading is fun ... damental

Hi hi. I have been a naughty blogger lately but I am going to be better, I promise, and what better way to be a better blogger than fulfilling my end of a tag? Ms. Allison tagged me to ...

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people and post a comment to the person who tagged you once you've posted your three sentences.

OK, the book: Belong to Me, by Marisa de los Santos. The lines: "You know what I mean. It's a song about keeping a place in your mind that you can get away to." "I do," said Elizabeth, quietly, "I know exactly what you mean."

Can I tell you how much I love this book? Can I? I LOVE THIS BOOK. (Those lines, by the way, make absolutely no sense out of context, but trust me, it's a sweet little scene.) If you like books, if you like words, if you like ... I don't know, anything ... please do yourself a favor and read her book Love Walked In and then read this one immediately after. They are SO good.

While I'm at it, a few of the other books I've read lately (shocking but true, I don't spend ALL my free time watching The Hills) ...

Remember Me, Sophie Kinsella. The very definition of a beach read. If only life were really a Sophie Kinsella book!

The Opposite of Love, Julie Buxbaum. Best lines of a first chapter ever: "Last night, I dreamt that I chopped Andrew up into a hundred little pieces, like a Benihana chef, and ate them, one by one. He tasted like chicken. Afterward, I felt full but slightly disappointed. I had been craving steak."

Certain Girls, Jennifer Weiner. True story: I was saving up the last, oh, third of this to read on the plane when I went out of town last month and OF COURSE I left it in the car (one of MANY calamaties that struck during that particular trip). I was SO mad. I marched straight to the bookstore in the airport and was ready to buy another copy but they hadn't gotten their shipment in yet so I had to get Details magazine instead. (Random Swishy fact: I was once a finalist in a short story contest judged by Ms. Weiner herself. Fun!)

Change of Heart, Jodi Picoult. I just-just finished this. It's an interesting premise, for sure, though I think my favorites of hers are still My Sister's Keeper and Nineteen Minutes.

Steve the Penguin, Mahlena-Rae Johnson. You might know Mahlena-Rae as Bianca Reagan, her alter ego at SteveThePenguin.com. If you've ever gone to a high school reunion, thought about going to a high school reunion, dreaded going to a high school reunion ... this is the book for you.

And I read this when it first came out, but Allison's book The Department of Lost and Found is recently out in paperback, so if you haven't read it yet, now's your chance. It's a great book and I'd highly recommend it for your next car ride, plane trip, poolside lounging or couch vegging session.

AND! Two very dear friends of mine also are or will soon be in a bookstore near you--Trish Ryan's book He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not just came out, and Jess Riley's book Driving Sideways comes out next week. I cannot say enough nice things about these two. They are lovely, funny girls who are tons of fun to be around and even better writers, so chiggity check them out.

Also! Emily Giffin's new book comes out in, like, 12 hours, which I am very, VERY excited about. Chances are, if you can't find me in the next few days, I will be under my desk or tucked in some corner somewhere reading my little heart out.

So there you go ... doing my part to promote literacy in America. It's not all McDreamy and Michael Scott over here at Swishyville! (Although I AM about to go watch the rest of the Survivor finale. Hee.) Give me your summer reading recommendations if you've got 'em ... and if you feel so inclined, consider yourself tagged!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Hi friends

You know that cold I was coming down with last week? Yeah. It's not going anywhere. It's all, you'll feed me ice cream for dinner if I make your throat hurt? You'll let me lay on the couch and watch The Real Housewives of New York City if I make your body ache? Sold! Where can I put my stuff?

But! A couple days ago, I was like, I can sit on my couch and feel crappy or, thanks to my lovely friend Allee, I can sit on a beach and feel crappy, so guess what won? (The couch, of course. There's no TV on the beach!) Just kidding.

I spent six glorious hours on the beach the other day, and I have the scorched skin to prove it. I don't know if it's a Pisces thing or a Swishy thing or a girl who grew up by the Jersey shore thing, but I love the ocean. I just do, I love it so, so much. Being by the ocean is good for my soul. So even though I'm back on my couch, congested and achy and sore, I'm a happy girl.

Ahhhhhhh. I'll blog more later. Like maybe after I figure out how to make waves in the bathtub.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Beautiful people

I am going to be quick because I am super tired and oh, by the way, totally coming down with a cold even though I NEVER GET SICK but ...

People's Most Beautiful People issue comes out today! I LOVE that issue. Does that make me superficial? Well, then, GUILTY. I love it and I always, always have. I remember being really young, like 8 or 9 years old, and going up to my room and shutting the door and not coming out until I'd gone through the whole thing from cover to cover. It is one of my favorite things ever.

OK, but ... I do not get Kate Hudson as the most beautiful person in the world! We had a whole conversation about it at work the other day. Kate Hudson is cute. Kate Hudson is fine. Kate Hudson, however, as the cover girl of the 100 most beautiful people in the world? RANDOM! The thing is, usually there's some reason--some newsworthy, buzzworthy reason--behind why magazines pick their cover subjects for these issues. Like Matt Damon as the Sexiest Man Alive? He was in one of the biggest movies of the year, and Brad Pitt and George Clooney had been jokingly campaigning for him for years. It made sense. Kate Hudson does NOT make sense. She's not starring in a summer tentpole movie. She's not dating Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise or George Clooney. She's not Angelina Jolie. I do not get it.

Actually, I get it a little bit. I went through the photo gallery of past cover stars, and you've got your Brad Pitt, your Nicole Kidman, your Julia Roberts, your Jennifer Aniston, your Halle Berry. But then all of a sudden last year they go with Drew Barrymore. And then this year, Kate Hudson. Like they're purposely trying to send this message of, you know, "We embrace nontraditional beauty! Earthy chicks are beautiful too!" Which ... of course they are. But it's the MOST beautiful people issue! I want my George Clooney on the cover!

I know, I'm terrible. But at least I didn't say anything about RUMER WILLIS being in there. Rumer Willis! In my most beautiful people issue!

Oh, well. At least there will be shirtless Jason Taylor action. Oh, yes, it's true. LOVE this issue!

(Obligatory job update: There's not exactly one, even though the deadline theoretically was today. I am like the most noncommittal person alive. Or, as my darling coworkers prefer to call me, "high-maintenance" or merely "DRAMA" with, yes, all caps. I hope to have an update soon. Like sometime before I die.)