Waiting for My Real Life to Begin

The life and times of a girl named Swishy.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Leaving on a jet plane

So I'm going out of town for a couple of days. I get on the plane and head for a window seat in an empty row on the right (as usual), and am immediately joined by a Louis Vuitton-toting mom and her highly energetic young son. This is sort of the reason I log on to Southwest.com the day before and refresh the page like a maniac to get an "A" pass, to avoid these types of situations, but you know, whatever, I like kids well enough, it could be someone whose underarms smell worse than a bucket full of catfish left to rot in the sun all day, this is definitely a workable situation.

And then the little kid, who's sitting next to me and has the swingiest arms ever (I mean, he's practically doing the butterfly stroke), gets a marker in his hot little hands. I'm wearing a light-colored sweater. What this equals: Definite potential for disaster. I start bobbing and weaving like Ali in his heyday. I wear him down, and he passes out five minutes into the flight. Crisis averted!

* * * * *

I am pretty sure one of the flight attendants is a little drunk. It starts off harmlessly enough: A woman comes on with a McDonald’s bag: "Oh, you brought me a cheeseburger!" she says. A guy throws away his Diet Dr Pepper bottle: "Oh, I can’t believe you didn’t save me any!" But then she goes up to the three debonair businessmen lined up in the row behind me and completely loses her shit. “You’re in exit seats,” she says, ready to give them the exit-row spiel, but that’s all she can get out. Instead, she starts giggling uncontrollably. And then she scootches into the row--ostensibly to let someone by, but she’s practically on the one guy’s lap. “So,” she giggles, “are you sitting on me or am I sitting on you?”

* * * * *

I am getting old. This means two things: In some ways, I am vastly more patient than I used to be ... and in others, I am so incredibly NOT. Like this baggage issue, for example. The whole fee situation when you check bags has resulted in a nation of people who carry ridiculously oversized bags onto the plane. Which, though I would never do myself (too many liquid products in my high-maintenance repertoire, thank you!), I sort of get. What I don’t get is doing it on Southwest, where there are no baggage fees. I also don’t get hauling a bag on the plane that is big enough to hold an average-sized dead body. Yet that is exactly what the woman next to me on the way home is trying to do. She’s trying to squish it under the chair in front of her IN THE MIDDLE SEAT. It’s literally like watching an army of Sumo wrestlers trying to cram into a clown car. I should be amused, I should maybe even offer to help, but instead I feel myself wanting to shake her shoulders and ask her if she is 10 shades of insane because she’s acting like a complete lunatic with this bag. She--I kid you not, are you ready for this--GETS ON TOP OF THE BAG AND STARTS JUMPING ON IT. IN THE MIDDLE SEAT NEXT TO ME. It lodges in there enough for her to prop her feet on top and I spend the next 45 minutes pissed at her based on the whole principle of the thing. Because, as we've established, I'm cranky and curmudgeonly and things like people lugging overstuffed bags onto planes is enough to make me rant about the state of our union for two hours (or 200 words).

* * * * *

I overhear the guy behind me talking about how he travels a lot. He travels so much, it turns out, he hit 2 million miles and is now a member of Southwest’s platinum club. He’s totally George Clooney! This is totally Up in the Air! I turn around, ready to assume my rightful role in the real-life Up in the Air sequel with our knockoff George Clooney. Turns out he’s really not that much like George Clooney. Like, at all. He DOES have a fancy platinum tag, though.

* * * * *

(I had a really great girls weekend and not one single actual travel issue, just ones I like to pretend are issues. Hope you all had a great weekend too!)

(P.S. Oh! Golden Globes! I almost forgot! Yes, we must discuss, and we will. Oh, WE WILL.)

Monday, January 11, 2010

And this is why we eavesdrop

I'm sitting at the coffee shop. I just got here, and there are two guys sitting a few tables away. One is facing me. He’s in his early 20s. He’s wearing a black concert T-shirt (regrettably, I can’t tell which concert) and a necklace with a little white pointy thing hanging down that somewhat resembles a fang. His friend appears to be a nice person, but is clearly the “dork” in this friendship while the necklace-wearer is the “cool” one.

His plan in life, we quickly learn, is to teach a college course on human sexuality.

Those are my words. His words: “I’m TOTALLY gonna use this class to pick up girls. I’m gonna be, like, awesome. I’m gonna be the coolest teacher in the school. I’m gonna be fit, I’m gonna be trim, sleeves rolled up, looking good ... oh, yeah. It’s going to be awesome.”

At this point, I have pretty much dropped everything, including my jaw, as I listen to this guy. I’m not even PRETENDING not to be listening to him. I am full-on staring, full-on you've-to-be-kidding-me cracking up, and naturally, he is oblivious.

“I don’t think a lot of guys will take the class. I think it’ll mostly be targeted to girls. I mean, I’ll tell the guys—look, this class is going to be intense, so if you can’t handle it ...”

His friend nods.

“Or, you know, don’t tell your parents if they’re going to freak out, because, you know, I don’t need that shit in my life.”

He takes a sip of his drink.

“But I can’t call it, you know, SEX. I’d have to call it something else. Like Everything You Want to Know But are Afraid to Ask. “

(Creative.)

“Or like ... systematic excellent xylophone. Get it? S-E-X. Or ... wait! Systematic excellence! S, and EX!”

Sounds like a winner! And the subject matter?

“It’s not going to be overly vulgar, but I AM gonna be like, ‘You know, when you’re going down on a guy ...’ "

A meaningful pause follows (presumably, he’ll turn to Google or Wikipedia to research the end of that sentence by the time the first class rolls around). So, Mr. Sex-pert, what else can you tell us about yourself?

“I was in this class once where the teacher started talking about the objectification of women in the media. I was like, whatever, that’s BS. (Pause.) My sister often jokes that I come off as a misogynist."

(NO. WAY.)

And now he’s talking about shaving his chest. I am seriously not making any of this up.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

It's the little things

I came across the greatest article the other day (and not just because it's from a London paper and therefore uses the cutest British lingo ever). It's a list of the top 50 greatest little pleasures in life. In the top 10 are things like finding money in your pocket, getting into a bed with freshly washed sheets, laughing so hard you cry and catching up with an old friend. No. 1: Getting a good night's sleep (so boring but so true!).

So, in honor of the list, a few of my favorite little pleasures:

Getting the seat that I want at the coffee shop. I've found kind of a knockoff version of my old coffee shop, and after trying out lots of different seats, I've decided my favorite one is in the very back corner. It's not a table, it's an armchair with two mini-tables, and it has not one but two outlets within plugging distance. (Bonus: I get to spy on everyone else's screens but no one gets to spy on mine! Ha.) Every time I go there, I do my little "Please be open, please be open" chant ... and when it is, I always do a little happy clap.

The dollar spot at Target. As the enormous shopping bag full of cute dollar notecards in my closet will attest.

Eating in bed. This is a little rebellious thing I do when I'm having a bad week and want to feel nothing like an adult while simultaneously basking in the fact that the only reason I get to do this is BECAUSE I'm an adult. I prop a plate up on a pillow, get all snuggled under the blankets and put something on TV. (And usually fall asleep 20 minutes later, which sort of helps the cause, too.)

People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive, Most Beautiful People or Most Eligible Bachelors issue. Love, love, LOVE.

Getting a card in the mail for no reason at all.

Getting on a good laughing jag. One of my friends at work sometimes puts on old Beverly Hills, 90210 episodes on mute and makes up dialogue for me. It's usually only for a minute or two, but I nearly lose my mind every time, it's so funny.

Walking past a guy and then catching him turning around to get another look. (Who DOESN'T love that?)

Hearing a song I really like while I'm in the car. Bonus points if it's nice enough out to roll down the windows. Double bonus points if it's a totally embarrassing song I get caught singing along with at a stoplight, because then I'll spend the next five miles laughing, too.

Awards shows!

Starting a new book, especially a book I've been dying to read. I seriously turn it into an event.

A good, old-fashioned bubble bath.

Leaving work early. This basically never happens to me anymore, but oh, there is something just so delicious and scandalous about leaving early, even if it's totally allowed.

There are so many more I can think of! What are some of yours?

Friday, January 01, 2010

I like the look of you, 2010

Happy New Year, everyone! I love New Year's Day. New Year's Eve, I could do without (that and Valentine's: so overhyped), but I love, love, love, with a great, big puffy heart, New Year's Day. I totally get into the resolutions and clean slates of it all. Plus, lots of great marathons on TV, no one expects a single thing out of you because half the world is hung over ... what a great holiday.

My favorite New Year's was a few years ago. A couple of days before New Year's, my friend Allee and I were going to a comedy show with some of her friends from work. It was actually a fairly miserable time in my life in a lot of ways, and long story short, I ended up getting into a huge fight over the phone with a guy while we were waiting in line at the comedy club. I spent the next chunk of forever standing outside in the freezing cold, fighting with this guy, bawling my eyes out, while poor Allee was stuck between her friends inside and coming outside to check on me ... just not a lot of fun for anyone.

At some point, a few minutes after the show had started inside, a random guy (cute, single, around my age) walked past me and then kind of backpedaled. "Hey," he said. "Are you OK?"

I looked at him, my face just a wreck, and said: "I could use a hug."

(I can't believe I said that to a stranger, by the way, even a cute one. You can see what kind of night it was.)

He was totally unfazed. "I can absolutely give you a hug," he replied. He did, then he stepped back, tipped his head to the side and looked at me. "I don't like to see girls cry," he said. "Any guy who makes you cry is an asshole. He doesn't deserve you."

That made me smile a little. "Thank you."

He didn't leave then, though. He took me and my friend inside, even though the show had already started and even though he'd gone to an earlier show. He bought both of our drinks and walked us out after the show. He got my number, and called a couple of times to check on me and ask if we could have coffee or something. I never did return his call. It was kind of a shitty time, and then I lost my phone and, with it, his number. I still feel bad about that.

A couple of days later, it was New Year's Day. "You have to see this movie," Allee said. "It's the perfect movie for you right now." It was The Holiday--she had seen it the week before. Allee picked me up and we went to see it (and then snuck into Dreamgirls for good measure. Ha.) She was right, it was the perfect movie for me that day, and I sat in the movie theater and cried because it made me feel so much better. And the fact that I had a friend who KNEW it would make me feel better made me feel about a thousand times better than the movie did.

So every year around New Year's, I think about that, about the humanity and goodness in those two things, and it just makes me so happy and hopeful--that in this crazy world with lots of crazy things happening, there are such good people who help make life a little less crazy for each other.

I was flipping through my blog archives looking for something the other day, and when I look at it all at once, I'm like, holy CRAP, you guys have been here for a lot of my life. You were there the day I found a nest in my car, the time I saw a naked streaker at McDonald's, when I stalkerazzi-ed the guy who carries around self-portraits at Target. You hung out at the coffee shop with me. You indulged me in my love of hot TV characters and my inexplicable affection for eHarmony commercials. You read all about my many, MANY run-ins with the popo as well as my ridiculous airport and other traveling exploits. (I have to say, CIA agent notwithstanding, those are my favorites.) And you were there a year and a half ago when I made one of the hardest decisions of my life.

I (naturally) had to look up my 2010 horoscope, just for fun, and it said that after a couple of bumpy years, this year is going to be full of happiness. It HAS been a couple of bumpy years, but in a lot of ways it wasn't really so bad because I had you guys. I've let things lapse a little around here over the last year since I moved, but in spite of that and Twitter and Facebook and everything else, I still love my little blog, and I love that you're still with me.

So thank you. You, too, have brought such grace and humor and kindness to my life, and I appreciate it so much. Happy New Year. Here's to 2010, the best year yet.