Thanks For the Ride and the Awkward

When I was 18 I was an office assistant at a carpet warehouse in Oakland, Ca. I was right out of highschool and it was my third job experience. I didn’t have a car so I was an AC Transit bus expert and walked everywhere that distance allowed.

This job, however, I didn’t have to do either. Another person in the office, who told me about the job, happened to live across the street from a best friend I went to highschool with. And I lived a short distance from them, so she offered to be my transportation. It was perfect.

A day came when she had to leave work early because of a personal emergency. Another assistant, Lisa, in her early 30’s, lived in the same city as us so she asked her to give me a ride home. With a big smile, Lisa expressed it was no problem.

I’ll never forget what happened during that car ride.

The conversation went as follows:

Lisa: Hey Leah, you know it would be beneficial for everyone if you would get your own car.

Me: (Pause for being thrown off guard) I would love to have my own car, but it’s not a possibility right now.

Lisa: The thing is, Rosie has her own life. She has a husband and kids and she doesn’t need…this burden. I mean she’s using her gas to give you a ride. And I have a family as well, now I’m using my gas.

( What. The. Hell. Has this woman ever heard of carpooling!? Besides, I lived 2 minutes from Rosie, and 5 minutes from her. I also never asked Rosie to be my transportation, it was offered to me.)

(Sidenote: I was first hired on a temporary basis to do Lisa’s job while she went on a leave of absence. I did so well they kept me. She didn’t like that. She even went so far as to ask the manager of the office why was I still there. She was politely told it was none of her business.)

Me: Well, I do fill her gas tank at the end of every week. I offered that as part of our deal, because I wouldn’t let her give me a ride otherwise.

Lisa: Oh.

(Brief silence)

Lisa: When I was your age, my parents bought me this beautiful white mustang. There’s nothing wrong with parents buying their kids first car. You should talk to your parents about getting you a car. What parents wouldn’t?

Me: You know what, to be honest with you, I’m making the payments on my parents car, so I don’t think that will happen any time soon. So, like I said, getting my own car isn’t possible right now.

Lisa: Oh.

(Silence for what’s left of the car ride)

Me: (Getting out of the car) Thank you, see you tomorrow.

That 20 minute car ride is in my top 10 most uncomfortable moments.

P.S. (3 years later I bought my own car and I no longer worked there)

My Heinous Guilty Pleasure: Reality Shows

In the 90’s I started watching The Real World like so many other innocent T.V. viewers. Years later in the early 2000’s a little show called Survivor hit the air waves. Bit by bit more reality shows popped up like Big Brother and American Idol. Each show having its own niche. After the first seasons of Survivor and Big Brother the reality explosion was so severe I lost track of them. (Who knew it would go off like an atomic bomb between 2007-2011)

My regular viewing pleasure programs started to change dramatically. A few years back I took a peek at what VH1, A&E, and Bravo had to offer. I think the first what the hell am I watching moment came during an episode of Rock of Love on VH1. But I couldn’t look away. They had me. Slowly but surely almost everything I watched on T.V. was a reality show. After I was hooked to the Real Housewives series on Bravo, I knew there was no turning back.

As of 2011 who doesn’t have a reality show. It’s impossible to tune in to all the madness. I see a commercial preview for a new one every 10 seconds. Every network has one hand milking the reality cash cow. Besides watching “trashy” reality I enjoy Dual Survival, Man vs. Wild, and other how-to-survive-in-extreme-situations-that-will-never-happen-to-me shows. The Travel Network even has some entertaining and educational programs. The reality universe has something for everyone. From hog hunting to being a voyeur in the life of a celebrity.

A lot of it is viewed as pure mind numbing crap. And that’s what I love about it. The more moronic and ridiculous, the better. To zone out and watch such absurd people and actions help me to unwind. My most recent guilty pleasures have been Real Housewives of New Jersey, Real Housewives of New York, Flipping Out, Mob Wives, and yes I’m even a little hesitant to say, Jersey Shore. Within the last few days, I have found some of the housewives to be so vile, that it’s hard to watch. Yes, Housewives cast more vile than Jersey Shore…I know right?

Against his better judgement my husband has “enjoyed” a few Housewives and Jersey Shore episodes. He wishes he didn’t know who or what a Snookie was. Some people look down upon those of us who view these shows, like something must be severely wrong with us. But like anything else, who are you to judge. Yes, there are people who go crazy overboard about it. Perhaps saying things like, “Don’t talk ’bout my Snookie!” Come on, Snookie isn’t hurting from any type of comment. Snookie has a cool million in the bank she earned by poofing her hair to the sky, having a pickle habit, and being a sloppy drunk on T.V. She is just fine.

Honestly, when just about the whole cast of Jersey Shore came out with books “they wrote” I flipped through a Bible to see if there was any mention of this being a sign of the apocalypse.

Sometimes I wonder if any of these shows are subliminally changing me. I ponder this because after every episode of Mob Wives I have a strange desire to get in someones face and verbally violate them, using mother effer like a comma.

Regardless, I have no intention of cutting my one true guilty pleasure out of my life. The pleasure far outweighs the guilt. My husband still loves me and accepts my addiction. He simply asks, “Do you have shows tonight?” Knowing I’m not to be disturbed. Except for a handful of reality T.V., I’m well aware of the lunacy I’m viewing. The absolute best sideeffect of watching these things is how the characters make me even happier to be me, simply because I am not them.

Publishers Clearing House, You Are Not My Friend

The concept of Publishers Clearing House is simple enough. You receive an email or envelope through snail mail informing you that you could be the next winner of an obscene amount of money. All you have to do is transfer the “prize” stickers. Oh gosh, really?! But wait! Don’t forget as a courtesy to your new best friend, to look over and purchase something from the long list of mind manipulating products and magazines. Products and magazines your logical mind knows you can live without.

Then something takes a hold of you. Some sort of mental defect activated by the visual “Only 4 easy payments of $7.99.” The same defect that acts up during infomercials and the QVC. I use to ignore the Publishing Clearing House emails, but then I thought, what the heck. Since they clearly state “A purchase would be appreciated but is not necessary to win,” I would scroll through all the merchandise without a glance, and follow all the click requirements and submit. (Not giving it a chance to suck me in with its convienant payment plans, that still equal to overpriced your-husband-is-going-to-kill-you shit) If you haven’t made a purchase right before submitting they lay on the guilt like a starving child with the words, “Won’t you reconsider?” 😦

One day I was weak and reconsidered. It started with two magazine subscriptions. Then it was three plug-in pest controllers, that don’t work as well as promised…shocking. My latest must have is the Chef Basket. One product that combines 12 cooking steps… Yes, please! I’m interested in it as a deep frying companion. The colander use will also be helpful…I mean…I have a few of those already, but I still really need this!

Earlier today I transferred prize stickers without succumbing to the urge’s that have been passed down to me from hoarder generation to hoarder generation. F.y.i. I have never succumbed to the hoarder gene. I will admit I paused at the Country Pig Paper Towel Holder. Head of pig with a bandana, you can guess what’s at the other end, and in the middle papertowels OF YOUR CHOICE! Only 4 easy payments of $4.99. I paused because I thought my mom would like it. At least that’s the lie I’m telling myself.

Well clearly Publishers Clearing House is just another scam (drug) that helps pass the time. I’ve been eligible to win $5ooo a week untill I die for the last 6 months. I’ve been mindfucked into buying needless crap. Some idiots actually think they’ll get rich by transferring gold stickers to a designated prize area, and somewhere deep inside, I suspect I’m one of those idiots.

Go To Hell Sugar And Carbs

Once again I’m trying to eat healthy. I have tried this before but it never lasts long. The only thing I’ve stuck with is trying to include raw ginger or garlic in a meal. And by stuck with I mean it happens at least once every two weeks. Recently I have come to the conclusion that food is my crack. Yes I am comparing myself to a crack addict.
I’ve been using food as a drug probably since I was a toddler. I’m not the only one of course, Oprah taught me that. If I was upset in any way I got a cookie, or whatever sweet comfort food was nearby. A large chunk of my childhood we were on welfare, so I got a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches from the fire log size block of government cheese. It was some damn good cheese. And not just one at a time, my mother felt to make up for when we didn’t have any food, it was best to feed me two sandwiches. I thought this was normal. If I was at a friends house and we were made one sandwich, I was confused. I wanted to know where the hell my other sandwich was.
As I’ve gotten older I have tried to reprogram myself. This is no easy task. I’ll do well for awhile, but then I wake up one morning craving a sugary moist donut. I give little resistance and head for the local bakery to get my fix.
At this point in my life I feel it’s now or never. Either I make healthier choices at the age of 33 or I will never be able to reverse the damage. The epic battle with food has begun.
Oh my God! I want a thick piece of french bread lathered in butter! Mmmmmm.

P.S. Dwarf apples are adorable, and they mindfuck me into eating them with their fun unnatural apple size.

Why One Ply Why

Dear One Ply Toilet Paper,

Why do you exist? If you were not around, then you wouldn’t be an option at the store for my husband to choose from. Do you not know that you will just disintegrate. Why put either one of us through that. My husband cannot be expected to read the package of toilet paper. So please, I beg you, do the world a favor and disappear. (Just like you did when I was inhumanely forced to use you) You are not needed. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but you have caused many unhappy and frustrating moments between couples.

Sincerely,

A Concerned Frequent Bathroom User

Adventures in Babysitting

I’ve been babysitting a 9 year old boy as a favor for my husband’s co-worker since June 7. My daughter is visiting her father’s family so this at least occupies my mind while she’s gone.
Watching Johnny is an adventure in itself. I kid you not, he was watching a program with a dancing segment and said, “That’s not a dance, I’ll show you a dance.” He then stood up and performed the macarena. Yes, the 90’s dance sensation. How this 9 year old boy even new this existed I have no idea.
Perhaps I will only babysit infants. Whaling and non verbal fits I can handle. Having the macarena forced upon me is unacceptable.
Making toast for him is a complicated ordeal. If I cut the slice into squares then it MUST have jelly on it. If I cut the slice into triangles then it MUST ONLY have butter.
I’m scared.
I took Johnny to our local park and discovered he enjoys urinating wherever he likes. I explained to him after he peed on the grass, that other kids could roll around in it and for the love of God use the park restrooms that were only 4 feet away.
I’ve tried to do the same things that make my daughter happy for Johnny. I said, “Hey would you like me to make some brownies.” Johnny replied, “Uh, what kind.” Usually I hear an excited reply of, “Yes!” This questioning was new to me. “Um, well, fudge or chocolate.” “I don’t like fudge.” He says. At this point, I’m over it. “They will just be chocolate. Do you like brownies?” I ask. After a pause he says, “I don’t know.” “Johnny, have you ever had brownies?” Looking up from the handheld video game he’s been playing he say’s, “Yeah, but I don’t know if I would like yours.” Alright, he has a point. Maybe it was just the fact of my own child not being around but him not expressing any excitement over the brownie idea deflated me. I was sad. It seems silly now as I write it out. But I obviously wanted my own child there and wanted to hear her pleasant tone. But seriously what 9 year old doesn’t like brownies. My brownies are awesome and he will never know .