Waiting for My Real Life to Begin

The life and times of a girl named Swishy.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Buenos dias

So I'm going on a little vacay to Mexico tomorrow, where I hopefully will get very tan and well-rested and NOT catch swine flu. I hadn't told my parents I was going out of town, probably because in my head I am still 12 and feel like I need permission to spend the night at Stacey Klein's house, let alone go out of the country by myself. But then I had visions of being abducted or my house burning down or some big family drama breaking out the one weekend I don't have my cell phone glued to my hip, and decided I probably should give my mom a heads up that I wouldn't be around JUST IN CASE.

Me: OK, so I'm going out of town for a couple of days, just so you know.
Her: Where?
Me: Not telling.
Her: WHY NOT?
Me: Because. You'd freak out.
Her (indignant): I would not FREAK OUT. I get it, you're an adult. I GET IT. (Pause.) Does this have something to do with a boy? Is that why you won't tell me?
Me: NO! I'm not telling you because you'd freak out.
Her: You give me no credit. (Thinks for a second.) Alabama?
Me: Mom. Why would I go to Alabama?
Her: Arkansas?
Me: MOM!
Her: Well, you SAID I would freak out.
(It's possible my mother has some unresolved issues with the South.)

(Much, much later.)
Me: FINE. I'll give you a hint. (I snort like a pig.)
Her: I KNEW it was Alabama!
Me: MOM!
Her: Pigs ... bacon ... ham ... OH! Swine flu! Mexico! (Pause.) I thought you said I'd freak out. We've got more swine flu in the New York area than they do in the whole COUNTRY of Mexico right now.
Me: I know, I know.
Her: I thought you were going to tell me somewhere where you were going to be sold into white slavery or something. You're so ... paranoid.
Me: I KNOW I'm paranoid. I'm the most paranoid person I know.

But here's the thing: Can you REALLY be considered paranoid (I prefer neurotic, but whatever) if your whole life is practically a string of Exhibits A, B and C of why said paranoia is COMPLETELY JUSTIFIED? I mean, of course I'm going to miss my flight or lose my passport or have my top fall off in the ocean in front of a pack of impressionable 10-year-old boys. OF COURSE I AM.

And, naturally, I will tell you all about it in a few days. Have a good weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The great debate

Coworker A: I'm going to get a sandwich. Does anyone want anything?

No, thanks, we say. He leaves the room. He comes back a few minutes later and starts dialing the phone.

Coworker B: What is he doing?
I shrug.

A few minutes later, Coworker A hangs up.

Coworker B: Were you just ordering your sandwich?
Coworker A: Yeah, I don't like to wait. It's awkward.
Coworker B: Wait a second. You order ahead at, like, Subway? Places like that?
Coworker A: Yeah. I don't like to stand at the counter.
Coworker B: But to call ahead for ONE sandwich? Why? Who DOES that?
Coworker A: A lot of people do.
Coworker B: Really? How many? Ask them. Ask them when you go, how many people do that.
Coworker A: I'm not asking them that.
Coworker B: Why not?
Coworker A: I have no comment. This is a stupid conversation.

He comes back with his sandwich.

Coworker B: Did you ask?
Coworker A: No.
Coworker B: Why? Aren’t you curious?
Coworker A: No. Look, all I know is that if I hadn't called ahead, I'd still be standing there waiting.
Coworker B: That's a little bit of an exaggeration. (Pause.) It's just not NORMAL.
Coworker A: Whatever, like you would know what normal is.

Which segues into the latest topic du jour: Which person in the department is the most "normal." Somehow, I'm not even in the running, despite the fact that I'M not the one who just spent 15 minutes debating sandwich orders. Something about laughing too much ("not EVERYTHING is funny!" says Coworker B). Go figure.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

I guess this is why they call me a yenta

So I live in this neighborhood now, a really cute old neighborhood with great little side streets and interesting-looking houses. When it's nice out, I like to walk around for a half an hour or so as it's getting dark. I happened to mention this at work at the other day.

"So, I went for a walk last night and it was so cute, these old people were having a little dinner party with electric candles on the table. And, oh, my gosh, I saw the GREATEST bookshelf in this one living room ..."

Wait, wait, WAIT A SECOND, they said. You walk around and LOOK IN PEOPLE'S WINDOWS?

"I mean ... well, yeah. What else am I supposed to look at when I walk around the neighborhood?"

How about the SIDEWALK, they replied.

"But it's so interesting! I love seeing how different people's houses are decorated, and what they're doing ... they're like little snapshots of life."

You're crazy, they said.

"I am not. I'm CURIOUS. I'm a STUDENT OF LIFE."

You're a stalker, they said.

"Whatever. It's not like I stand there and stare. It's not like I go up there and press my nose up against the glass. Their windows just happen to be open and I just happen to glance over as I walk by. There's nothing wrong with being OBSERVANT."

Until you get slapped with a restraining order, they replied.

(I work with a bunch of rotten boys, have I mentioned that?)

I know it's probably just a nice way of saying I'm nosy, but I think people are SO interesting. Once I was in a career development seminar and they made everyone write down what they were most passionate about, and I wrote down that I am fascinated by people's stories. I love hearing them and telling them and even sometimes making them up.

The other day, I walked past this girl complaining to her friend: "It is total bullshit that she didn't invite me. I mean, give me a break, she KNOWS I have no friends. I go home every night and literally do nothing. Like Friday? Nothing. Saturday? Nothing. Nuhhhhhh ... THING."

And then overheard this conversation between two coworkers at a sandwich shop:

"Yeah, so Texas wants to be its own country."
"WHAT? What do you mean, its own country? Like not part of America?"
"Yeah, they'd break off or whatever. They're really big on that there."
She thinks about this. "So, like, what would they call it? The country of Texas?"
"I guess so."
"That is SO messed up."

I was walking home a few days ago when a couple tumbled out their front door with their dog. Their arms were wrapped around each other, and they were so close, they were kind of tripping over each other's feet. They couldn't stop touching. He'd touch her hair, she'd touch his waist. They were probably in their late 40s. I followed them down the block, trying to figure out their story. Did they meet on the playground in third grade and, four decades and two kids later, were still completely and totally crazy about each other? Or did they just find each other? Maybe one was divorced, maybe one was holding out for that big love, the love of her life, and they just felt so lucky to have found each other that they didn't want to let go.

I thought about it for a while and decided I hoped it was the second one, because I think there's something really beautiful about finding something giddy and unexpected once you've lived long enough to become a little cynical about such things. At any rate, I'm dying to find out. Maybe I can get the CIA guy to look into it ...