Waiting for My Real Life to Begin

The life and times of a girl named Swishy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

She may have a point

So I was at my parents' house last week. They moved to a new town last fall--it's not the house I grew up in or anything--which means I'm not super familiar with the neighborhood. Which also, naturally, gives my mom extra license to participate in one of her very favorite activities ever, backseat driving, when I am there.

So I'm driving my mom and my brother to lunch. We're going down a big hill, and I hug one of the turns a little close. And when I say a little, I mean, like, BARELY.

"Swishy!" she gasps, throwing herself around like Raggedy Ann over there for effect. "Be careful!"

"MOM."

"SWISHY," she says, and let me tell you, there hasn't been this kind of drama in her tone since a certain aunt engaged in certain extracurricular activities right before my cousin's wedding, "Swishy, I'm not even kidding, someone DIES on this road almost EVERY DAY."

I nearly almost DO drive off the road this time, because oh, my goodness, if there was not a more melodramatic statement in all the world. I can't stop laughing.

"You are beyond ridiculous," I say.

"It's true," she insists. "Almost every day there's an ambulance going down the road."

I tell her if those kind of scare tactics didn't work when she told me my face would freeze that way and the gum would stick to the walls of my stomach forever, they were not about to start working now. And yet, there she goes again with the death talk on the way back after lunch.

"RIGHT," I say, waving my hands in the air. "It's a TOTAL DEATH TRAP of a street. People are just DYING left and right. I mean, really. REALLY."

My brother pipes up from the backseat: "Well, there IS a senior citizen home on the street."

I whip around. "WHAT? Is that true?"

My mom shrugs. "I just said a lot of people died on this road, I didn't say HOW."

Monday, August 17, 2009

What can I say, I like to talk

So I'm going to catch a train--a train that, naturally, I'm running about 3 minutes late for and subsequently miss--when I realize I can't find my cell phone. I rifle through my monstrosity of a bag, then full-on dump it everywhere, and still no phone. I have no clue where it is. It could be sitting on my bathroom sink, on the hood of my car, in the hands of some nosy, nosy girl who now is reading all of my text messages and posting them on her blog, I HAVE NO CLUE.

This is a very big problem. I never leave my house without my cell phone. I mean, practically almost never. I am supposed to be meeting my brother. I am not going to be home the rest of the day. You know those people who are like, my cell phone died for, like, five hours the other day, and it was so great, so nice and peaceful, I didn't miss having a phone at all? You may be one of those people, in which case I tip my LED screen to you, but I AM NOT. I was very, very late to the cell phone party, but now that I am here, you will have to drag me kicking and screaming out the door after all the balloons have popped and streamers have been kicked around and everyone else is long gone. I NEED TO HAVE MY PHONE.

At the moment, though, I just need to figure out how to tell my brother that he is not going to be able to call or text me to find out where to meet me. I dig back, way, way back into the recesses of my brain, to try to remember HOW ON EARTH people communicated before cell phones. I could send him a letter ... too slow. I could send a pigeon ... I don't trust them, they poop a lot and I think they have little brains. Pay phone ... pretty sure those no longer exist. Email ... oh, yeah, no computer.

I am seriously--I wish I were kidding--considering trying to telepathically send him a message when I end up borrowing someone else's cell phone. A much fancier, much more technologically advanced cell phone than mine, a phone I can barely figure out how to talk on, let alone dial. And then we run into the other problem: I don't know his number. I don't know ANYONE'S number. I used to be the queen of remembering people's numbers, back in the dark ages of rotary phones and horse-drawn carriages, but who needs to memorize phone numbers when they can just be programmed in? When that valuable real estate in my brain can be turned over to memorizing the Jolie-Pitts' middle names and birth dates instead? Not me, no way.

After a minute or two, during which time the cell phone lender gives me several strange looks and very nearly snatches the thing right back out of my hands, I come up with my mom's number. I call her and ask her to relay the message.

Meanwhile, across the aisle from me, two teenagers are refusing to pay their train fare and the ticket collector is threatening to call the cops. The lady in front of them turns around and begs them to reconsider.

Lady: Pay them! They'll take you to jail!
Punk kid (sullenly): For what.
Lady: They'll take you to the blue pen! You don't want to go there. Trust me. I've been there.
Punk kid glares.
Lady: And it's a weekend, too, you won't see a judge til Monday. (Cackles.) I've been locked up lots of times, I know.

The train slows down, and the kids get ready to make a break for it.
Lady: Run! Run!

The train stops, but the doors don't open. Instead, we are informed that there will be a slight delay while we wait for police assistance. This is spectacular. There will be a riot two feet away from me over $5.25 train fares and I DON'T HAVE A PHONE.

That is basically the theme for the rest of the day: I DON'T HAVE A PHONE. My brother sending a text, the teenage girl gabbing on her hot pink Razr, the guy looking something up on his BlackBerry--they are ALL mocking me because they have phones and I DON'T.

I know it's neurotic. I KNOW. But I'll tell you what, when I came home to find my phone sitting primly on the kitchen counter, right next to the charger, I hugged it and kissed it and swore that, Verizon as my witness, I'd never leave it again.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

At least we don't pull each other's hair anymore

I have two sisters. None of us lives near each other, so we keep talking about doing an annual girls trip. We have brought it up a million times, maybe even a zillion, and it has yet to happen. We started yet another email chain about it yesterday after my brother got an internship offer, and honestly, it is amazing we can focus long enough to put on our shoes and walk out to the car every morning, let alone actually plan a weekend together.

*****

To: Keek; Teflon (yes, I really call them that)
From: Swishy
Subject: Mike's internship

Looks like we’ve got a girls trip to Europe planned! We'll just crash at Mike's place! Haha.

*****

K: Did I miss something? Did Mike get an internship in Europe? How come no one ever tells me these things!

*****

ME: Because you live in CALIFORNIA, which is like another country/time zone. He got an internship offer in France.

*****

K: Does this mean he’s going to be trying to prove to us that he speaks fluent French? Seriously, though, we should do it. Not in the spring though, that’s when the season starts, we should go in Feb or March when it’s really cheap. For real, though, we have no excuse not to do it now.

*****

T: We should make it open invitation, don’t you think? At least so Mom doesn’t feel left out ... she’d be happy hanging out at the museums while we run around trying to pick up on European men ...

*****

ME: I don't know when I can go. We'll have to plan. Teflon may have to sacrifice some of the time she has allocated toward being a groupie.

*****

T: Hahahhaha watch it!! I'm not a groupie ... I’m a friend. :-) Groupies only get VIP access if they sleep with the band ... I'm a good little girl.

*****

ME: Ohhhhh, baaaaaaby, yooooooouuuuu, you got what I neeeeeeeed, but you say he's just a friend, you say he's just a friend ...

*****

K: Ha ha ha ha ha.

*****

T: LOL ... whatever ... you two don't understand me.

*****

ME: Do too, you're a band-aid like in Almost Famous.

*****

T: Word.

Best,
Teflon Teflonstein

*****

ME: I mean, really. Would you just look at that email.

"Word.
Best,
Teflon Teflonstein"

*****

T: It's my sig line!!! Oh so speaking of trips Dad is going on a camping trip. He is in a good mood about it.

*****

ME: Gooooooooood times to be in the Swishy family. Except me, I am effing starving.

*****

T: The inside of my ear keeps itching and it’s driving me NUTS.

Best,
Teflon Teflonstein

*****

K: Ok, so for some reason my work email thinks Swishy is spam, so I keep getting Teflon's replies before I get Swishy's email. Haha, Swishy is spam!
I’m sorry you’re starving, Swish.

*****

S: Swishy is Spam.

Best,
Teflon Teflonstein

*****

ME: WHAT IS WITH THAT REPLY!
WHAT IS WITH THE BEST! ENOUGH WITH THE BEST!
I AM NOT SPAM!

OK, so seriously, I got a turkey burger the other day from the cafeteria and it was so freaking disgusting, they didn’t cook it all the way. SIIIIIIIIIIIIIICK.

*****

K: That’s because it’s a freaking turkey burger, those are always disgusting.

*****

T: Groooooossssssss. My ear still itches ... it started itching after I had my Skullcandy headphones in ... maybe it’s dust in my ear. Weird.

*****

K: Maybe Teflon has one of those creepy type earwig things. Those always freaked me out.

*****

T: Ewwwwwwww.

*****

K: My email can be monitored for security reasons ... sometimes I wonder how much eye rolling or laughing goes on when they happen to come across certain emails.

*****

ME: Ours too. I asked them once if they read our email and the guy was like, whatever, I am insulted, I have better things to do with my time than read your missives on Britney Spears. I was like, um, like WHAT, because that sounds like a great use of time to me. Except not Britney Spears, she bores me.

*****

T: Oh mercy.

(Needless to say, there is no trip planned.)

Friday, August 07, 2009

I still get goosebumps when I hear If You Leave

So I'm sitting at work clicking around when I see the AP news alert: John Hughes dead at 59. Immediately, I gasp, and the guy across from me is like, what? And I'm like, John Hughes. Oh, my gosh, this is so sad, John Hughes is dead.

He's only a few years younger than me, but he looks at me and is like, "John Who?"

You've got to be kidding me, I say. How do you not know John Hughes? He was, like, the DEFINING VOICE of adolescence for an ENTIRE generation. Every single movie you watch about kids in high school today, they learned how to do it (though not nearly as well) from John Hughes. Pretty in Pink? Breakfast Club? Some Kind of Wonderful? Sixteen Candles? JAKE RYAN? Every girl in the WORLD loves Jake Ryan! You HAVE to know Jake Ryan!

He gives me a little bit of a helpless look, and all I can say is, I feel so bad for you, because you have SO missed out.

I love all of the big ones, but my favorite John Hughes movie is Pretty in Pink. Oh, how I loved Pretty in Pink. I hated Blane, just hated him, for how spineless he was, and I was so proud of Andie for sewing up the pretty pink dress herself and going to the prom anyway. (Oh, and Annie Potts! How could you not love Annie Potts in that movie!) My heart broke into tiny little jagged pieces for Duckie, but that last scene still got me anyway. "If You Leave" in the rain ... gosh, I love that movie so much.

This story from the Washington Post five years ago remains one of my favorite stories ever. The headline: "Real Men Can't Hold a Match to Jake Ryan." First line: "Listen to all the Thompson Twins songs you want, but let's finally admit that Jake Ryan from 'Sixteen Candles' is never coming to get you."

No way. I refuse to believe it.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The one where I'm standing on the porch like an orphan

So, one of the great things about where I live now is how much there is to do. I had a couple of random days off last week, so I decided to be adventurous and explore a little while the weather was nice. Of course, I needed to put a million things in my car for this little adventure--iPod, cooler, sofa and five-piece dining set--which required a couple trips to the car. I walked out with the first batch of stuff and ran into my neighbor on the way out. "Hi!" I said, holding the door for him, all full of light and enthusiasm because, hey! It's sunny out! It's a weekday! Everyone else is at work and I'm going on a little adventure! Hello, he said, in his darling Turkish accent, then disappeared inside.

I dumped everything in the front seat of my car. I walked back over to the door and ... ohhhhhhhh, crap. Crap crap crappity CRAP, I'd managed to lock myself out. OF COURSE I had.

OK. This is the deal. I live in a locked building. I have two house keys--one for the outside door, one to my actual apartment--and zero spares. I had left my apartment door hanging wide open, but there was no way to get inside the outside door.

But! My neighbor had just breezed through the door! His apartment is on the ground floor next to the outside door, so no problem, I'll tap on the door, flash him a charming smile and he'll let me in, right?

Tap. Tap, tap, TAP, TAP, TAP, BANG. Nothing.

OK, wait. Wait a second. I had to get into the car somehow, right? Silly Swishy, the keys were probably just sitting on the seat. I walk back over to the car and look everywhere. I mean, EVERYWHERE. And then I remember that, oh, yeah, I'd gone to Target and left the car unlocked while I went inside to get my stuff. Ohhhhhh, yeahhhhhh.

(We resume this episode of "Swishy is an Idiot," now in progress.)

I go around to the front this time and buzz my neighbor. Silence. I buzz again. Silence. At this point, I'm like, you've got to be kidding me. Dude. DUDE! I JUST held the door for you! I've lived above you for nine months! I'VE HEARD YOU HAVE SEX. WE HAVE A RELATIONSHIP. OPEN THE DOOR.

He does not open the door.

I try another neighbor. Nada. I know my next-door neighbor is gone, because I am very observant/a nosy neighbor/a stalker, so I move on to the next one. Unfortunately, there are only four other people who live in my part of the building. Unfortunately, I also appear to be the only lady of leisure, because no one else is home at noon on a weekday.

At this point, I'm like, OK. Option A: Sit on the steps and wait for one of my neighbors to come home. Option B: Channel MacGyver and try picking the lock using a combination of the following things in my glove compartment: tampon, nail file, hand sanitizer, ballpoint pen and Extra gum (watermelon flavor). Option C: Track down my landlord. Naturally, I do not have his number programmed into my cell phone, because did I mention that this episode is called "Swishy is an Idiot"? Fortunately, however, I am either not TOTALLY an idiot or very lucky, because I DO have a spare car key in my bag. So I drive to his office and cross my fingers and all my toes that this isn't the week he decided to go on a lavish vacation or flee the country.

It isn't. He drives over right away and lets me in, and there are my keys, smack dab on the middle of the couch. Moral of the story: I am TOTALLY making copies of my keys.

(P.S. I DID have a fun adventure. I listened to music and went shopping and walked on the beach. And I didn't even lock myself out of the car, not even once.)