Category Archives: Oops. Fell off the positivity wagon.

Taking what they’re giving ’cause I’m working for a living

Holy shit you guys.  Not only does my job require getting my ass up an hour earlier, catching a train and walking to an office every morning where I sit in a cube that has my name on it – it also requires….work.  The last five days were like five years.  Office time is like dog years when stuff is actually expected of you and people want you to produce things in a time period that is actually challenging. No wonder Oprah has those bags under her eyes.

My new boss is a great guy, but he appears to have certain expectations of me that I feel obliged to live up to – at least at my first week on the job.  He wants me to help him change the world (well, the world as it applies to my new little company) and I’m kind of like, “Yeah! Awesome! Let’s do it!” when I’m really thinking, “What the fuck am I doing here? Why.the.hell. am I in a suit?”.  On the other hand, I have been very vocal about all things that I don’t like and he tends to agree with me so I think that is why he thinks of me as his brother in arms.  Did I tell you this guy used to be a Green Beret? Yeah, I never thought me and a Green Beret could be friends, but he is teaching me his battle techniques and together we’re raising a shit storm.

There are two other people who have been with the company a couple of years that share my same job, except they just made this new role up, so my boss wants me to “show” them what needs to be done, because he thinks they are too comfortable and questions their fitness for the role.  His take on this is not making me the popular new girl on the scene.  Quite the opposite, I think they want to kick me in the face.  And I get it. They’re all, “WTF? She is here 2 days and she is getting all the attention? (cough simultaneous with a “bullshit” under their breaths.”  I have been nothing but really cool but apparently my Awesomenesss is very intimidating and really hard to play down sometimes.

So basically I haven’t been able to talk to anybody around the water cooler yet, which is probably good because I was too exhausted to watch American Idol or Project Runway.  And I invited myself out to lunch with my 2 new friends that like me so much and are in an office gang clique I’m not privy to yet, which was kind of awkward. So right now I’m kind of a loner.  I think maybe even the administrative assistant who runs the whole office even hates me. But maybe that will make me more mysterious and powerful.  Or maybe a loser. I’m not sure how it will all play out. My only friend appears to be my new boss, but he doesn’t work in my office, so our friendly phone chats are all I have at this point.  Well, and BD. Now we only work a few blocks from one another, so he takes me out to lunch so I’m not left alone at McDonalds wailing and gnashing my teeth over my #2 Value Meal.

So, all in all – the new job = AWESOME. I can’t think of a thing I would change.  So give me a month or two before I’m feeling all the warm vibes I get from retelling ridiculous stories.  I know I still owe you the story about the time the Seal look-alike (but even scarier) held me hostage in a cab.  Hopefully the people at work will stop hating me and realizing that the mountains of joy I can bring through telling them all of the crazy shit that happens to me.  Or maybe they’ll just become the crazy shit that happens to me, and then you guys will win by hearing what happens next.

But stay tuned because I have some stuff that needs to be revealed that kind of breaks the balance of the universe. I just need the time to do it justice.

Advertisements

Love conquers all – hopefully even in an office

Well, first I would like to congratulate myself on escaping the fires of hell my big huge corporate entity job so that I could take a job with a little, itty-bitty, tiny company that hopefully doesn’t go bankrupt. Today was my last day at the former and Monday is the first day at the latter. And much to my surprise and horror, I’m a little freaked out by the big change and I’ll tell you why:

MY NEW JOB REQUIRES ME TO WORK IN AN….AN…..OFFICE.  WITH PEOPLE.  There. I said it.  I have never done that before except when I used to work as a temp in college, but I always knew I would be free of those whack jobs in a few weeks and I didn’t want to starve so I did it.  Oh, the stories I shall tell you about some of my temp jobs!! Not to worry – definitely on my to do list.  But I digress.

I’ve never actually worked in an office before. I always had jobs where everything is really flexible and I can work from home, or from some temporary cube, or I’m on the road, or with clients and nobody bugs me or cares where I am.  And I like that. Total freedom to wear my pajamas to work most days, or watch Oprah when it originally airs. The little girl in me that used to always inform people that they aren’t the boss of me has grown up and she feels exactly the same way.

But this new job…I mean, they told me it was flexible when I told them that I’m afraid of offices, but I feel like the culture is that they expect you to actually go there. Like, everyday.  So in some ways I’m super-curious because I’m not one to shy away from situations that will give me priceless fodder for my best-selling memoir I haven’t written yet, and I’m totally gearing up for water cooler banter/debates by Tivo-ing American Idol and Project Runway, but on the other hand…I mean, will it be like “The Office”? Will I get a desk next to some clown like Creed, or Angela or Kevin? Please, please, please, dear mother of GOD, put me next to Dwight and Jim Halpert.  Or Oscar.  Or even Toby. Toby’s good.

So this makes me think about which Office character I’m most like. Because I guess my new office mates are also wondering what the new chick is going to be like and whether I’m a loud food chewer, or if I don’t wash my hands after I go to the bathroom, or if I’m on the phone all day trying to order a huge new projector thing for my mega-church,  or if my husband works for Vance Refrigeration. I actually am none of those things.  Well, BD might accuse me of chewing too loud, but I’ve convinced myself that that’s more about his hang ups and less about my chewing volume. I’m not really like anybody on “The Office”, because my Awesomeness is hard to capture in just one character, but if you twist my arm I think…and I’m not proud of this, but I’m probably maybe closest to that goofy new receptionist chick.  She kind of looks normal and nice, but she is definitely a little freaky, and weird and clueless a lot. Which I think pretty much sums me up perfectly.  Except that I would never fall for the Nard-dogg. Just saying.  So I guess I’ll be her if a board game comes out.

But so anyway…how does one conduct oneself in the office? I don’t know why I’m asking the Internet since if you read my blog you clearly aren’t at work — or are you? Do they let you do that?! I’m assuming I can’t really blog at work anymore. Or read your delicious blog.  Or check Facebook at 34 second intervals. Or burp loudly after an especially satisfying gulp of Diet Coke. I suppose pouring myself a tall glass of Shiraz at 4 or doing 3.5 loads of laundry is out of the question.  And random lunches with random people at random times — not so much.  How do people do it? I mean, how much of a waste of time is it to be in an office all day? What if I have nothing to do? I think the cubes are situated in such a way that everybody can pretty much see what you’re doing because there aren’t really high cube walls or much privacy, so I think I have to have Excel open all the time to look like I’m officially working.

Also, I have to start traveling again. They told me I didn’t have to go very often when I told them I don’t like traveling, but I might go so insane in the office that I become a road warrior and turn out like that lady in “Up In The Air” who is inexplicably still hot with the worst 70s hairdo ever AND breaks George Clooney’s heart, which, I mean, come on – I would never do. So I have issues. At least at my totally unsatisfying, frustrating, uninspiring current job I just quit didn’t make me do things like go to an office and have a desk all day. I got to go to Cubs games and out to lunches and lots of 3 o’clock happy hours. But my company was an asshole.  Like, if the company could be a person, it would be the biggest ass you’ve ever met.  Which is weird, because the individuals that work there aren’t assholes, but it’s one of those Gestalt things where the sum was more than the parts and somehow the sum of decent, smart people equaled Really Huge Global Douchebag Corporation.

So why did I take this new gig? Well, probably the same reason I voted for Barack. And, no,  not because Oprah said. I would have voted for any damn Democrat, because I was really voting for not George Bush.  And this new gig is like that – it is not old gig.  Once in a while (every three years to be exact), you have to do something completely different.  And I’ve been at this one 3 years, so I had to go.  Plus at this new place, the people seem cool and the company does appear to be laid back, and they seem to actually get the concept that their employees are human beings with feelings and families, but in a work all the time sort of way, since it is small and everybody needs to pull their weight to make it awesome. Which is fine because I work a lot. I do. I just do it when I feel like it. When the mood strikes. And I’m afraid that at 8:30 in the morning, the mood is not normally striking. No. That is about the time when I go to the gym the 7 times I did in 2009.

Anyway, now I’m rambling. I hope that New Job is 100x sweeter than Old Job. It may turn out to be A Job. But no doubt I’ll have a whole host of new and interesting stories to tell you…I just hope I get a chance to write them down. I may have to change my blog name to “Very Important Site for People Who Are Successful and Productive” so when I’m writing in it and someone comes by my desk they’ll see that in really big letters and be satisfied that I am indeed working very hard and I might just be the best new hire they’ve made since the Kelly Kapoor-ish chick from two months ago.

Wish me luck. And I apologize in advance if the posts are coming a little slower in the next couple of months. Demonstrating my Awesomeness will likely take a lot out of me.  It’s not easy to do The Worm on hardwood floors.

Bitch, Pleeze!

Here is the link an interview that my sister sent today with that bitch person who “lived Oprah” for the year and then wrote a book about it. You need to watch it. It’s like 5 minutes of the worst TV I think I’ve ever seen.

Have you watched it yet? Yeah, now you know why I am understandably incensed about this on multiple levels.

A) That should have been my idea because I live Oprah anyway.

B) How dare she question Oprah’s taste in footwear?

C) If that bitch bought everything Oprah told her to, it would add up to a lot more than $4700.  So she cheated.

D) Oprah made her do good for others, like provide books to female felons and save a cat’s life – what’s not to love? What sort of ingrate bites the hand that feeds the world?

E) Finally, when has Oprah ever ruined any normal person’s marriage or sex life? Well….I take that back. Forget point E.

F) She said people view Oprah like their BFF in a way which suggested that somehow that was crazy.  I didn’t dedicate my life to making Oprah realize I’m her soul mate so this dumb broad could come along and ridicule me.  I swear if I ever see her on the street, I’m going to give her a really mean look. Like, seriously mean. And then I’ll report her whereabouts to Gayle, and you can bet Gayle will give her the beat down she deserves.

That is all I’m going to say about this topic, which has wounded my soul very deeply.  If she can’t see Oprah for the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent spiritual healer and teacher who wears really good shoes most days, then she clearly doesn’t understand her subject matter and should be revealed to the world as the charlatan she is. You know who she reminds me of? Debbie Mathers. Eminem’s mom. When she made up that song about him to get rich just because she was mad that he has spent most of his professional life telling stories about how she was the worst mother of all time. I just don’t like when other people try to get famous off the back of someone with the Awesome in them.

I just hope when Eminem isn’t on the phone getting drug counseling from Elton John, he’ll reach out to Oprah to provide some support.

And I would ask that my loyal readers, though none of you like Oprah, light up your cell phones, wave them slowly in the air and watch Eminem’s “Cleaning out my Closet” video I’ve provided access to here:

Now you have just a little taste of the rage I have and the angry poetry that I’m about to write about this woman and her dumb book and send to Oprah and her producers in a beautiful laminated album. If you have any worthy submissions, I will consider them, but they have to be really good. I mean, really Oprah-worthy.

“That’s it. I’m done!” (Ben Affleck, Boiler Room)

Adventures in Babysitting, Part II

If you haven’t already, it’s best to read Part I. But if you don’t like reading my super-long posts (I’m working on it), and just want the net – I’m 7 months pregnant with son #1 and found out from two snarky ladies on their lunch break that daycare is impossible to find and then after a miracle in Starbucks, I find a home daycare, Miss Amalia’s Place, that meets my criteria which is that its near my house and…that it is near my house, but it turns out that she is used to desperate parents. She is going to interview us to see whether we’re the right sort for her daycare.

The flyer from Miss Amalia’s Place didn’t have a ton of information, but it did mention that it was an all organic environment and the kids would be taught yoga and learn to sign when they were babies and no TV (obviously) and I think there was something about earth sounds music too.  From what I could tell, this is what all the good moms were doing, so it seemed like a pretty good plan to me, especially when you consider the alternative: me taking care of the baby in an environment that included a lot of Oprah, Dr. Phil, Sex and the City, McDonalds, The Killers, Eminem and some Baby Mozart once in a while.

But the issue was that Miss Amalia was going to interview us, to see if we were the right sort.  The first interview wasn’t even going to take place at her daycare, because she wasn’t going to bring just anyone there. That was only if you got to the second round. Failure was not an option. Because we had no other viable options. So I spent the two days we had to prepare for the interview Googling “how to be a good mother” and “acing the daycare interview” and drilling BD on his part in the whole thing.  I reminded him that this interview could decide whether our son would be a well-adjusted adult or a circus performer.

Love: “Okay. So whatever she says, nod and smile and agree wholeheartedly with her. Even if you have no idea what she is talking about.”

BD: “I’m not sure we should be pretending –”

Love: (gives husband ‘the hand’) “Listen – I’m not kidding around here. This is our ONLY option.  We will do whatever it takes to get in. Repeat after me…We will do whatever it takes to get in.”

BD: “Do we even know how much she costs?”

Love: “No. And we will nod and smile and agree wholeheartedly with whatever she says it costs. We will have time to panic later, and sell our kidneys when she isn’t around.”

BD: “I don’t know. This isn’t our only option.”

Love: “Oh yeah? What are the other options?”

BD: “Well, I’m sure we could find -”

Love: “By ‘we’ I assume you mean ‘me’ and guess what? There isn’t anything else. But if you want to spend hundreds of fruitless hours looking, be my guest.  In the meantime, you will nod, smile and agree wholeheartedly with everything that is said. Including by me.  I will likely say things you’ve never heard come out of my mouth before. Pretend like it’s totally normal for me to make butternut squash and say ‘namaste’ and stuff.”

BD: “What is ‘namaste’?”

Love: (through gritted teeth) “It’s what I say all. the. time. Get it?”

BD: “Oh my God. This is nuts…”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Miss Amalia turned out to be a Korean woman in her mid-thirties. She was unmarried and her older sister helped her out taking care of the children.  She had very definite ideas about how to run her daycare, although she had only started up 6 months earlier and she’d never had a child of her own.  She announced that the youngest child she would take would be 6 months, since it would be “very bad” for a mother to leave her child before then. She explained also that it would give the baby some time to adjust from the breast to the bottle, but she had a whole page on how breast milk would be handled.  We nodded and smiled and agreed wholeheartedly. The thing was, we needed someone at 10 weeks and there was not going to be any breast milk. We were formula feeding. But neither of us said anything.

She told us about all of the enriching activities she would be providing the children and she told us what our duties as parents were. There was a long list of rules. Schedules were very important. We could drop our child off within a half hour window in the morning and pickup in a certain window.  Any exceptions would have to be logged in advance.  We nodded and smiled and agreed wholeheartedly.  She told us that it would be $350 a week.  It was more than I hoped it would be, but it was doable. Perhaps we could keep our kidneys. We asked her about what she liked and disliked about the other families.  We asked about what she thought about traits of great parents. We asked her about why she started her business and told her how wonderful and genius she was for doing so.  We told her we liked her hair. And her shoes. And could we get her anything else to drink?

I thought we aced the interview.  We did everything we planned to do to make sure we got to the second round.  At the end of the interview, we thanked Miss Amalia and she said she would call to let us know whether we made it to the second round. She also gave us a 10 page contract to look over to make sure we were “comfortable” with all of the terms.  We walked out hand in hand and didn’t speak until we were safely back in our condo.  The minute the door was closed, we looked at each other and simultaneously asked, “What. the. fuck?”

Neither of us could believe that we lived in such a world.  Sign language, and schedules and yoga and dietary restrictions and minimum age 6 months old?!  When we were little we watched TV all day and drank lots of Kool-Aid and got locked out of the house and told to play outside for four hours.  Our moms didn’t breastfeed us and we didn’t know what organic meant until 1998.  We felt totally unprepared to be parents.  Miss Amalia had us scared to death. We needed her to take care of our son because we were going to do it completely wrong if she wasn’t coaching us the whole way.

Now what to do about the fact that we weren’t any of the things she wanted us to be? We couldn’t wait six months. We needed her at 10 weeks. And I wasn’t planning on breastfeeding, because I’m just a bad mom.  This was going to get complicated, but I had to make this happen.

Part III

The time in Australia when I almost got murdered by drunk wild boar hunters – The Finale.

In this final episode, I eventually get to the part about my almost-murder by the drunk Australian wild boar hunters. Let’s recap:

I am too drunk to know to say “no” to participating in the “Outback Rainforest Adventure” during my visit to the Great Barrier Reef in Part I, then the tour guide rips off his clothes and goes swimming in a rainforest waterfall pool in an Australian flag Speedo and I get all hot and bothered by it in Part II, and that was just the first day of this whole unfortunate trip.

I really want to remember every last activity we did the whole three days because they all sucked in their own way and because I revel in complaining, and it would be fun to tell you all about them in detail. But I only remember the very worst moments.  So I’ll just have to stick to those for the finale of my Outback adventure tale.

Okay, so the second day starts and Dundee herds all of our hungover asses into the Outbackmobile (this is the new name for our vehicle – since I can’t really describe what it was) and he tells us that we’ll be leaving the rainforest and entering the Outback. I was delighted to be leaving the rainforest behind, because I thought my chances of survival were significantly greater the further we got from all of the poisonous small things that wanted to kill me in the rainforest. But I wasn’t sure about the whole Outback thing. The closest I had been to the Outback prior to this was the Steakhouse, which, let me tell you is as beautiful to me as Oprah herself. I mean, you can order thick, fat steaks and pick them up in a drive thru after 20 minutes? Fucking genius.

So I had high hopes for this thing they called the Outback. Perhaps there would be cute kangaroos throwing colorful boomerangs around that happy Aboriginals dot-painted especially for them. Oh, and an old Aboriginal dude playing the didgeridoo while the koalas sat in a tree unobtrusively eating leaves or sleeping. That would captivate me for about 5 minutes, which is a very long time for me, so it looked like a ray of sunshine was in my future.

That is not what the Outback is like.  The Outback is possibly the most boring landscape in the entire universe. I’m a Midwestern girl, so I thought soybean fields were about as boring as a landscape could get, but no. The Australian Outback is the worst. Even the desert beats the Outback, because it’s all mystical and stuff and there are cliffs and canyons for you to fall off of, so it packs in some drama too.

Not the Steakhouse

See what I mean?

So anyway, Dundee drives us into a landscape much like this one above and stopped the Outbackmobile in all of this nonsense and we had to go have a “look-see”. This is what Dundee called it when we were about to get out of the vehicle and wander around aimlessly. I hated look-sees. You would just walk around and get sweaty and look at dirt and a bush here and there and be like “wow. a fucking bush. awesome. where the fuck are the koalas I was led to believe Australia was rife with?” Dundee was animated. To him, this was all fucking awesome. Again, he was so like the Croc Hunter. He was jumping around with his machete bouncing up and down on his hip pointing out these huge ant hills and animatedly explaining how exactly the ants make them. He’d get down on his hands and knees and ogle the ants’ handiwork. I mean these things were about a foot or two off the ground, which is hella bigger than the ones you find on suburban sidewalks so I guess they were impressive compared to that, but they weren’t the fucking pyramids or anything. Dundee seemed to think they were the work of the gods.  Really? I mean, it’s a fucking two foot hill in the middle of nowhere. And plus, there aren’t any ants or termites or whatever crawling all over them, which was good, but creates too little drama to make me care.  I never got the five minutes of captivation I was so looking forward to.

So we had a day long look-see in the Outback and all we saw were these ant hills all over the place. And there was a little rocky hill thing we climbed too. And by “we”, I mean everybody else. It looked pointless to me. And maybe like it would cause me to sweat more than I was comfortable with. So I just sat at the bottom rolling my eyes and being annoying and scanning the horizon for killer koalas or at least some boxing kangaroos. No luck.

Okay, so then it starts getting dark and Dundee brings us back to the Outbackmobile and he declares that this is where we’ll camp tonight! Ummm – surely you jest? There aren’t any tents in the back of the mobile! How are we going to camp? Dundee informs me happily that we’re “sleeping under the stars – didn’t you read it in the brochure, Love?” No I didn’t fucking read it in the brochure.  I think we established if I had, I would be at a club chugging a Strongbow instead of in the middle of BFE with a Speedo-clad, machete-carrying, Steve Irwinesque tour guide.

And, even if I had read the brochure, aren’t there supposed to be tents? No. We were going to sleep in “swags”, which are kind of like sleeping bags, except instead of being soft and snuggly, they are made of heavy duty canvas and they are kind of shaped like coffins and you’re supposed to zip up your damn head inside them. And that is where I am supposed to fucking sleep. I mean, he didn’t even put a tarp down under the swag. It was like, unroll the swag and just put it on any dirty dusty spot and get in. Oh, and by the way, they don’t breathe at all, so get naked or you’ll probably sweat to death. The FUCK? Dundee was all about getting naked. And in places where a multitude of insects could claim any of your orifices as their own swag. Um. No thanks.

So this is where I have a little mental breakdown. There is no toilet. No shower. No bed. No alcohol. No McDonalds. Nobody, for miles, except us and Dundee. And I’m completely freaked out because I am sure that something or someone is going to attack me as I sleep. I mean, everybody knows that dingoes eat babies in Australia. So whats to stop them from trying to eat my arm? And how unnatural is it for people to just sleep outside under the stars? Are you kidding me? That’s the whole reason we fucking evolved – so that we could live in cool urban lofts with central air and skylights so we could see the stars in our temperature controlled, insect and psycho-free abodes. Why do so many people have such a huge problem with the great indoors?!  Who was going to keep me safe?!

Dundee’s machete. Thats who.  At least that was what he was telling me while I was on my knees screaming to God and tearing at my greasy hair. His machete was pretty big. And by now I was convinced he wasn’t going to kill me, though I was sure that he wanted to. Many times. He told me that he had some chocolate if I would just come back to the fire he built so we could have dinner and tell stories. It was blantantly clear I wasn’t the first hysterical woman he had talked off the ledge.  I was hungry. And I needed chocolate. So in tears, I returned to my friends and the British couple and we sat around a fire as Dundee cooked our dinner. I was still ruminating about how maybe I should spend more time sober so I wouldn’t agree to these insane “adventures” ever again, when suddenly from very far away, we saw headlights.  In the middle of the Outback. We were nowhere near a road. I thought that perhaps God had heard my prayer and sent Ed McMahon with an oversized check to deliver me from this hell. I started jumping up and down, elated. I was sure that I was being saved. It was the only logical explanation of what could be happening.

Dundee looked very concerned. That bastard wants to see me suffer, I told myself. He’s pissed Ed McMahon found me all the way out here. The tenacity of the Prize Patrol in this case was impressive. Those guys just wouldn’t be deterred once they found their winner, even though she is sitting in the middle of the fucking Outback. It was really very moving.  But, then again… We were kind of far away from civilization. And I didn’t know if satellite would reliably work that far away from civilization and it wasn’t really prime time in the US yet, so if they did it now most Americans would miss my glorious moment.  Plus, it would be really expensive to bring Ed’s makeup person all the way into the Outback. Maybe it wasn’t Ed.

The headlights were making zig zags all over the place, but seemed generally headed in our direction.  Now is a good time to remind you that at that time, cell phones came packed in briefcases and were used by about .8% of the population. We had no communication channels to civilization, so whatever was going to happen was going to happen without the benefit of 911. Dundee got up and started pacing. He told us to be quiet and not to talk to whoever it was and he then turned on the Outbackmobile and shined the headlights in the direction of the speeding vehicle that was barreling toward us, presumably so they wouldn’t run us over.

We started to panic a little. Our normally jovial Dundee broke out in a sweat. Apparently this part wasn’t in the brochure. Who the hell was in that car, and what the hell were they doing driving around in the Outback at night?  The headlights keep coming closer and we kind of all huddle together having no idea what to expect, but my hopes of it being the Prize Patrol were diminishing every second the lights came closer. No way Ed McMahon would drive that fast and erratically. Only somebody completely tanked could be driving.

Let me say it again. Only somebody completely tanked could be driving. Aw fuck. Lindsay Lohan was only 10 then. So who the hell was this?  The truck was upon us and our campfire within two minutes. Probably less. Dundee continued to pace nervously, and he took his machete off his belt in anticipation.  We did not have to wait long to find out who was driving. Two men, who I can only describe as extremely hillbilly-esque (they had no teeth – I swear to God), half rolled, half fell out of their jeep. But their messy dismount from the jeep did not affect their ability to hold their rifles.  At first they appeared to be very happy drunks.  They were laughing and wheezing and wanted to know who we were and what we were doing.  Dundee said we were having a look-see and camping.  He inquired about what they were doing.  I couldn’t understand a damn word they said, but I found out later they were looking for wild boars. They were wild boar hunters. Wild. Boar. Hunters.

Ummm….whaaat? Nobody said anything about the possibility of wild boar, let alone their hunters. They wanted to know if we had beer.  Believe me, fellas – if there were any beer, you would find it all coursing through my veins. Instead, I had more than my share of adrenaline flowing through them at that point.  Drunk hillbillies with guns scare me.

Two of my friends on the trip were from New York and LA, and they are whispering that we’re all going to die.  They were pretty sure that these guys were going to open fire at any moment.  I found it pretty ironic that the whole time we were in Australia, the Aussies would ask my friend from LA whether it was safe to go out on the streets in LA because of all of the drive by shootings. Hollywood makes LA look like the killing fields.  They thought Chicago was probably safe because the mob only killed everybody back during prohibition. We thought it was hysterical. But now the tables were turned and three chicks from LA, NYC and Chicago respectively were never more frightened than when faced with random drunk wild boar hunters.

You know how they say you get a “fight or flight” reflex in a situation like this? Now I know I’m a flight person. My goal was to get shot dead running away because there was no way in hell I was going to get myself raped by those two mother fuckers and then killed. Nope. I decided that I much preferred to get killed right away. I told my friends I’d take the first bullet. You know, for the team.

A heated argument seemed to erupt between Dundee and the hunters. They wanted to sit with us and be friends, but Dundee told them they weren’t really invited. Their initial joviality faded and then they seemed to be telling Dundee something along the lines of “Well see, we have guns and you only have a machete”. A pretty solid argument for how sloshed they were. But Dundee kept them talking and at a semi-safe distance from us.  Then one of my friends declared “They’ll kill Dundee first. And then they’ll rape us all and kill us. We’re so dead.” We looked at the guys we came with and asked them if they were going to stand for this. Like maybe they should back Dundee up or something. You know, act like men. They said the hell if they were going to get into the fray. Those guys were big, dumb, drunk and armed. I think their plan for escape was to run while we were getting raped. Pussies.

As Dundee and the hunters argued I was able to reframe the whole situation and kept thinking about whether it would be worse to be shot dead by these guys or to sleep under the stars in that coffin/swag thing. I was leaning toward the former (I seriously was) when suddenly the guys got back in their truck and peeled off into the night.  Wait. What? I was still alive and unraped? Whoa. That was heavy. Dundee came back and told us who they were and what they wanted. He wound up having to buy them off with some of our food. Good thing for me that Dundee was such a skilled negotiator, because if they had asked for one of the women,  I would’ve been the first one Dundee gave away.

I asked if maybe it would be best for us to drive to a hotel. Dundee said we’d be fine. Those guys weren’t coming back. Yeah, right. With all these naked coeds in swags? They’re totally coming back to rape us. I lobbied for us to forfeit our adventure and hightail it to Cairns. Dundee wouldn’t hear of it. He was back to his old self. Gleeful in my misery.

Eventually I had to get into the swag. But first I had a few questions for Dundee:

What if it rains? It won’t rain.

It doesn’t rain here? What if a pack of wild boar comes? No worries.

What about all those ants that built those big pyramid things? There won’t be many insects. Just get in. And take your clothes off or you’ll die of heat.

The hell if I was going to get naked. I had never had crabs and hell if I was going to get them from a “night under the stars” in a cheap swag in the Australian Outback.  I zipped myself in and the gross BO smell was overwhelming, and as promised, it was hot as hell, so I opened it just a little for some air. And I fell asleep.

Only to be awakened in the early hours of the next day by a very large drop of water which fell on my forehead. The fuck? And then another one.

“DO. NOT. TELL ME IT IS. RAINING. ON MY HEAD.” I said this as loudly as humanly possible, without having it turn into a shriek.  Oh yes. It was raining. My declaration woke the rest of the group.  I quickly unzipped the swag to sit up and start bitching more, when my eyes focused on two, no three, no FOOURRR!!! ant-like things that were bigger than a baby’s arm crawling on top of my swag. “HO-LY-SHIIIIIT!”

“I hate it here! I hate Australia! I hate you, Dundee! This is ridiculous. Get me the fuck out of here! You said it didn’t rain? What the fuck is it doing right now? We almost get shot last night and now there is some sort of fucking flash flood in the Outback and these fucking ants want to eat me. I HATE YOOOOUUUU! I hate this! ALL of this! I have never been more miserable in my entire life!” (If this story ever gets made into a movie, only Meryl could handle this complex character. Only she has the power to accurately convey the powerful rawness and the depth of my soul at that poignant moment.)

Dundee shrugged and smiled and said that we should fold our swags up and get in the Outbackmobile.  He was going to take us to a horse farm, then an Aboriginal village and then we were going to a pub. And then we were going back to Cairns. You know when you are fighting for your life, like you fall into any icy river, and your body conserves all the blood and gives it to your heart and lungs and brain and you have this intense focus to stay alive? Thankfully that is what happened to me in that very moment! My survival instincts finally kicked in and my brain focused on the word “pub” and I lived. Thank God Almighty. I lived.

It rained all morning.

The horse farm? Smelled like shit. Like I suppose most horse farms do.

The aboriginal village? Um, it was like going to the projects. We got to hang out with people who hate white people for ruining everything for them and then making them paint boomerangs and didgeridoos so that they could get some money from us so they could use the money to go back to being drunk again.  Awesome.

The pub? Glorious. And I kicked Dundee’s ass at darts. It felt good to be back in my element.

And then we got on with the rest of our vacation. And I lived to tell the tale.

SO…now you know what not to do in Australia.

You’re welcome.

The time in Australia when I almost got murdered by drunk wild boar hunters, Part Deux

If you’re just joining me, I highly suggest reading Part I, because its important to grasp how fucking clueless I am before you go any further AND how I got myself into this awful mess in the first place.

Okay, so I left off where we were just leaving on our “Rainforest Outback Adventure” for three days, with a guide who was a 30 year old Crocodile Dundee/Steve Irwin type.  A true caricature of every Australian stereotype one could imagine, which is why we insisted on calling him Dundee the whole time.

After driving an hour or so, Dundee pulls off the road and we wind up in a field of sugar cane. Just a random field. And he takes out his machete and gives us some sugar cane to suck on. Don’t get me wrong. I fucking LOVE sugar and all sugar substitutes, and even high fructose corn syrup please don’t mention this to Dr. Oz or Oprah.  But eating sugar cane straight off the stalk was not the same as a blow pop.  Blow pops are way better.  It was kind of disappointing to eat sugar in its raw form, which is why I guess I’m such a big fan of highly processed food.

Anyway, we didn’t stay long, I assume because Dundee was stealing sugar cane for us and he wasn’t sure if the owner of the plantation was going to shoot us or not, so he told us to finish chewing our sugar cane and get back in the vehicle and mentally prepare for our upcoming hike into the rainforest. Fuck. Seriously? So soon into the trip? Shouldn’t we have lunch or something first? I have a way of telegraphing exactly what I’m feeling by my facial expression and Dundee saw the “how the hell did I get here and how do I get out of it” expression and laughed heartily. “I kin tail thays ah gyohweeng tuh bay thray lohng dayees fah yeh, Lowv.” (translation: I can tell these are going to be three long days for you, Love).  Okay, if I keep trying to write it phonetically it will take me 7 days, so I’ll leave it that.  But suffice to say, Dundee had my number from the beginning, and he didn’t like weak Americans with bad attitudes. Which is a shame since I can’t think of a sentence that describes me any better than that.

Anyway, so this guy goes off-roading with us into the rainforest and seems to pick an arbitrary place to park. And we get out in the midst of all these vines and plants and….nature….and I’m beside myself because all this stuff is touching me and there are bugs and it is kind of steamy and I just brought a pair of running shoes because I’m a just an exchange student who never planned to hike the rainforest. I was mostly planning on hanging out at bars since I could drink legally there. But Dundee didn’t want to hear excuses. He told us to take all our stuff and follow him in a single file line and not to go off the path because there was a lot of poisonous plants and animals that he was going to avoid for us. I raised my hand. “Um….where are we going and how long is this hike going to be and what are we having for lunch?” These seemed like solid questions.  He smiled and said “No worries, mates!” and just started hiking. Which didn’t answer any of my questions. I readied my inhaler and prepared for the worst.

After about 15 or 20 minutes of brisk hiking and being completely unable to see more than 10 or 15 feet ahead, I began to think that Dundee might be insane. And he was leading us all to our deaths. And nobody would even know we were kidnapped and dead until we didn’t come back to school in 10 days.  I wondered if he would just let us die by letting dingoes eat us or if he would hack us to pieces with his machete and feed us to his pet wallabies. As I pondered these deep thoughts about my own demise, suddenly there is a clearing and a huge waterfall flowing into this magical pond came into view. In the middle of the fucking rain forest. Like in a Jurassic Park movie, which is the only frame of reference I have for this sort of thing.  It was really stunning. Just absolutely beautiful.  I checked my bag for my camera and when I finally found it and got it out to take a picture, I noticed something moving in the lower right hand corner of the viewfinder.  It was Dundee.  In a Speedo. With an Australian flag design. Oh Christ.  Yes. Our tour guide. In nothing but a patriotic Speedo, diving into a waterfall. Ummm?!  The man was able to strip down and dive in within 3 minutes of getting there. I’m feeling rather awkward. First, because men in Speedos are ALWAYS WRONG. But secondly and most disturbing, he rocked it. I mean, he looked pretty fine in it.  I had a flutter. Or a few. God, that is so wrong……. But I digress.  Does he expect us to just watch him swim there? Because I totally will. Did we bring water? I’m suddenly thirsty…

He suggests we join him.  I look around for the dressing room, but we are in the middle of a rainforest with weird animals and deadly vegetation and no other humans or vehicles anywhere nearby.  Surely, he doesn’t mean that we are to strip down on these rocks in front of everybody and just jump in, naked? YEEEESSSS. Yes, he does.  Perhaps a group orgy would be a great ice breaker.  Okay, so I’m pretty sure getting naked with the tour guide was not included in the brochure. If it had been, I would have paid more attention to the pictures and I sure as hell wouldn’t have gone with the guys I went with.

But anyway,  I’m pretty sure the guys and girls I did go with are not the types who are just going to rip their clothes off in front of everybody and just jum—–the guys we came with cannon-balled into the pond.  The old British couple were totally on board as well.  Um…what the fuck?  They’re like 65ish and just going in naked. Bullocks!! Who knew those Brits were so crazy? Okay, so part of me is saying, “Well, if those old people are doing it When in Cairns….” and the other part of me is saying, “The water is probably freezing cold and there are probably big fucking poisonous snakes or crocs in there and anyway all those pints haven’t done much for your thighs, and if you aren’t wearing a Wonderbra, then they may think you’re  guy trying to pretend you’re a girl like the opposite of that “Boys Don’t Cry” movie and they might get all weirded out and try to kill you and things are going to get totally “Lord of the Flies” in a big fucking hurry.”

I really, really didn’t want to get in, but I think my friends were talking me into it and I decided I’d change into my bikini, just to be social. No way I was going in there without a bottle of wine and my Wonderbra bikini by my side. So I did it.  I was proud of myself. Because as a general rule, I don’t swim. I don’t put my head underwater, EVER. I mean, I know how to do that stuff, but I prefer not to ever since Ricky G. held me underwater at the community pool until I almost drowned. Yep. And swimming is a form of moderate exercise, which as I said before, I’m not that into.  Me exerting myself, especially me exerting myself ensconced in water, is unheard of.  But peer pressure can be a good thing and I wound up taking a dip in the most glorious little place on earth. It was actually really pretty cool….But I’d be lying if I told you that blissful feeling lasted longer than 6.1 minutes.  Thats all it took for me to realize I might be in paradise, but paradise was cold. And I couldn’t feel nor touch the bottom, so for all I knew, there were 8 foot piranhas lurking or something even worse. And even though Dundee was hotness, I wasn’t going to let some fucking Loch Ness eat me or some huge mutant leech affix itself to my tasty ass. That’s also when Dundee mentioned something about some sort of insect we should try to avoid. Yup. Thanks. I’m gone.  So I got out, put on my clothes over my soaking we bikini and prepared to keep trudging along for the day.

It was really awesome. To be all steamy and wet with waterfall scum and my shorts chafing the skin on my thighs as I traipsed through dangerous trails and avoided poisonous things everywhere and stopping every five minutes or so Dundee could make sure there were no wild animals tracking us. Really awesome.  So awesome that I don’t remember what happened until we finally made it back to the vehicle and Dundee announced we were going to a hostel to spend the night. Well, thank God we weren’t pitching a tent and sleeping outside.  I felt so grateful at least there was a bed and a shower and even alcoholic beverages in the near future.  That night we sat in the big living room and told stories and drank. Dundee fondled his machete throughout.  When we were ready to turn in, Dundee told us to make sure to shower, because that was the last time we’d have the chance before he brought us back to Cairns TWO DAYS FROM NOW. He took special care right then to look at me right in my terrified, deer-in-the-headlight eyes and smile with pure glee.  Ah, FUCK. Really???! How on earth did I get here?

…I need another glass of wine now.  Next post, I swear I’ll get to the hunters trying to kill us part. Promise.

Click here for the finale

High School Reunion

Facebook has enabled a lot of different things, like keeping in touch with friends, stalking old flames, trash talking family, annoying people with your status and passively aggressively handling random friend requests, but I think the thing that is most fascinating and horrifying at the same time is the way it makes the whole high school reunion thing so much more accessible and easy to plan.

Seriously, what is the point of having a reunion now that we have Facebook? I’ve already seen whether so-and-so is married or has kids and have rated both spouse and kids on my adorability scale.  I kind of know what they do for a living, but more importantly, I know what they do every single day – in excruciating detail — and I’m over it.  And YET – people are still planning the old-fashioned high school reunion – the ones where you have to go to some gym somewhere and try to look at least as good or better than you did 10 or 20 years before, while regaling people with all of the awesomeness your life has been since high school.  (Which, by the way, is easy for me since my high school experience and awesomeness were mutually exclusive.*)

Before Facebook, I always felt that nobody could pay me to go back for a high school reunion, because of these very solid reasons:

a) My class had about 800 people in it. I only knew the names of about 200 of them and I only remain in close contact with 2 of them, so the odds of me running into someone I’d be truly happy to see are approximately  2 in 800. No, I take that back. The 2 people I know would not be there, so its 0/800.  Not good odds.

b) There is nothing I abhor more than having forced, awkward conversations with strangers, which is exactly how I imagine a reunion going down.

c) In order to cope with a. and b., I would require a blood alcohol level of at least 0.10 upon walking in, but by then I would be in the state where I tell everybody exactly what I think of them. Which, sometimes works out great, but mostly doesn’t.

d) Upon leaving, I would probably blow a 0.12 or 0.14, meaning I would have blacked out around the first conversation I started and not have remembered a damn thing for the rest of the night, and would only wonder the next day how much of an ass I made of myself and to whom.  There would probably be pictures. And they would be on Facebook, and I would feel as awkward and lame as I did every damn day I was actually in high school.

e) I have no vendettas against anyone, so I can’t go hoping to tell them off and flash some bling and tell them how great my life is and hope theirs sucks. I honestly don’t really care about what happened to people — not in a mean way — I hope they have good lives, but it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference to me either way. And I’m pretty sure the feeling is mutual.

f) Okay, fine. If I were Oprah, I would totally go. But only if I got to fly in on my helicopter. And my dogs were invited. Then I would go. But see, I’m not Oprah. So…

So I hope I’ve made a pretty good case for why I just blew off my 15 year reunion last month.  Some kid in our class decided to plan one, via Facebook,  at a park that was supposed to be kind of informal.  Show up at a park anywhere from noon to seven. Bring your own food and beer.  No guidance on whether to bring kids/spouses, etc.  Just show up.  The little Facebook invitation let me reply that “maybe” I would go. I live nearby, so going wouldn’t have required traveling or reservations or even directions.  But I have principles. And for the reasons stated above, I would never go to a reunion, the same way I will never get bangs again.

BUT, Facebook has mellowed me a little bit. People were a lot scarier and meaner at 15 than they seem to be today. And if I’m being honest, I did briefly think about breaking my rule and I did suggest to one of my two high school friends that we might want to go.  She was very non-committal. Then I think she said she had to go the Farmer’s Market or some lame excuse that day – which I can understand. So I took that as a “no” for me going with someone to the reunion, which meant if I went,  it would be just me, by myself. It wasn’t looking good for the reunion.

But there was a part of me that tried to psyche myself up for the thing:  “if you do this, then you’re showing you have matured since high school.  We’re all supposed to be adults now. I’m sure there are plenty of fake nice people you forgot about for a good reason who will be very pleasant to have an awkward, unnecessarily long conversation with. You could talk about your family nobody cares about except you, or your job you hate, or your blog you haven’t told anyone about, or how much you hated the good old days of high school.” That wasn’t very effective, so I tried a different tack with myself: “Look, just finish off a half bottle of wine beforehand. That’ll take you what? Six minutes? How bad would it be?” To which my mind replied to itself, “HOW BAD COULD IT BE?! It could be a fucking nightmare! Are you kidding me? What if I show up and I know absolutely nobody? And nobody knows me?” To that, my optimistic side said, “If that happens, you could just pretend you’re just a random person holding a half-drunk bottle of wine in a paper bag that happened to be in the park and then call BD to turn the car around and come pick you up. No damage done.”  The retort: “Hmm. No. Fuck no.”

So I didn’t go. Because I have PRINCIPLES and I made an important promise to myself at my high school graduation that I would never forget what a bad idea it would be to come to a reunion one day.  And I kept that promise to myself , which I guess just shows the depth of my character and strength of my willpower.  I proved that I learned my lesson the time I broke the 1990 rule about never getting bangs again. I was able to remember back to the pain and suffering of Bad Decision 2003:  “Agreeing with Hairdresser that Bangs Might Look Cool.” I paid dearly for that one. Dearly.  So at the end of the day, I had integrity. I was totally not a pussy for not going. I’M NOT. I mean, I wasn’t!! Really.

And anyway, I think it must have turned out incredibly lame because not a single high school Facebook friend posted a status or pictures from this great reunion, so I’m assuming they are all pussies exactly like me and didn’t go, or they did go and then had their spouse or their mom that they still live with pick them up 5 minutes later, or they went and they didn’t really feel like posting a status about going to a high school reunion that sucked balls. That is what I tell myself. I guess I can put this all behind me, until some asshole on Facebook decides to plan a 16 year reunion. Which will be awesome.

* I have decided to unearth my highschool journals so that I may retell some of my story in future posts. I have no doubt they will cause many to pee their pants and/or snort at the sort of shit that I got myself into.  Sometimes even I forget why I hated high school, but I’m sure I will find very compelling arguments in those pages. Just have to tear apart the house first…