Monday, December 31

Good to know...

When looking for a book in your parents' bedroom, something you'd rather not come across:

A box of Cialis.

Saturday, December 22

All the airport is a stage

I love airports.

In almost any other location, we can look at people and make an educated guess about who they are. In the town near my school, people instantly know that I am a college student. In a business context, people are rightfully assume that I am entry level.

In an airport, though, all you really know is 1) This person is probably not poor, and 2) They are going somewhere.

When I fly, I'm almost always alone. This means that, for a period of several hours, I will be literally stuck in a place where nobody can figure out who I am except through what I wear.

Usually there are a considerable number of businesspeople who are running to their next meeting. Though I have less business travel to do than a newborn, I like to dress like an aspiring CEO. When in this role, I tend to do some "work" on the ancient palm pilot that I never use. I get might get a Venti of something at Starbucks, make sure I get lipstick all over it, and check my watch a lot.

One time I sat down near my gate, called a friend of mine, and I conducted the entire phone call in French.

Now that I've perfected the businessperson role, I need to start playing some other personas when I fly.


Tuesday, December 18

Don't look at me

On the streets of New York City, eye contact is a dangerous thing. It is dangerous because people think it is an invitation to engage. When I make eye contact with a homeless person, they get to ask me for money. When I meet the glance of a construction worker, he gets to name me “Mami” and ask how I’m doing. When I look at a table of cheap purses and scarves as I walk by, the man selling them gets to ask me to stop for a minute.

It seems that everyone wants my money or my body. Everyone else pretends I’m not there.

To live in New York is to feel constantly harassed when you go outside.

I’m not used to being harassed. I don’t know how to describe what it feels like to not be harassed, but imagine not really knowing what rain is and then suddenly every time you go outside, it’s raining. You can’t avoid that. It’s just there.

Recently, I tried to stop thinking of myself as a victim. After all, I don’t have to avoid eye contact. What if I’m the one harassing men who pass me on the sidewalk? Then it’s my game. That would be such a relief.

My first experiment was to stop breaking eye contact with people. This did not provide the results I had hoped for. Maintaining eye contact only revealed what men did after my eyes were usually glued to the pavement: they stared at the rest of my body. The fact that I was watching them do it did not change this. In fact, maintaining eye contact often only made things worse, since men like it when you look at them. After all, eye contact is an invitation. I felt powerless.

I concluded that sometimes ignoring things is the best way to make them disappear. If I don’t watch long enough, I can pretend that the man in the elevator only looked at my face. This can work in any area of life, I’ve found. If I pretend that I can’t hear the cell phone vibrating in someone’s purse during a meeting, then it didn’t really ring. And it most certainly wasn’t my cell phone.

So I returned to averting my eyes. Still, it’s hard to actually not notice someone staring at me for an entire elevator ride. And to then pretend that they’re not watching my ass while I walk out.*

I thought I could deal with the harassment, but it’s starting to suffocate me.

Just as bad is the ignoring. The people who don’t harass you simply pretend that you do not exist. Today I felt like screaming. I was walking to the train station on the person-wide trail carved out of the ice on the sidewalk. If someone came from the opposite direction, it was obvious that one of us would need to step aside, onto the ice, in order for the other person to pass. No matter, though. Every single person who passed me just kept going, staring straight ahead. Nobody stopped, nobody acknowledged my presence by stepping up on the ice, or, I don’t know, maybe looking at me. I was the one who stepped on the ice. Every single time.

I might be ready to be that “FUCK YOU” person. Because, seriously, fuck them.

*Is the whole “Ladies first” thing just a ploy to look at our asses?

Monday, December 17

Notes, lists, and my Diet Coke story

Reminder: Putting alcohol in water bottle may seem like a good idea at the time, but will make water smell like alcohol in the future. Get a flask already.

Things I keep trying to quit ingesting:
- Corn syrup
- Hydrogenated oil
- Diet coke
- Coffee
- Pasta/bread/other processed grain
- Fried food
- Meat

So far no luck.

I first tried to quit drinking Diet Coke when I was a sophomore in college. I'm not sure what made me want to quit more: knowing that it's really bad for you, or knowing that I was addicted.

The realization that I couldn't go a day without a Diet Coke was sort of funny, but sort of tragic. If it had been a line of cocaine instead of a bottle of soda, it would be much easier to motivate myself to quit. But soda is such an acceptable beverage, there is no stigma to carrying around a soda. When I told people I wanted to quit drinking it, people laughed. It was as though I had just told them I was trying to quit eating olives.

I was able to stop drinking Diet Coke for a good month or two. It was pretty damn hard. I remember I had a Diet Coke that I had left in the communal fridge, for emergencies (yes, I have Diet Coke cravings). I once ran to the fridge and rummaged around, panicking when I realized that some bitch in my house had drank my emergency Diet Coke.

When I came back home for summer break, L gave me a shirt emblazoned with "Diet Coca-Cola." She said that she bought it because she when she saw it in the store, she thought of me. This was a sort of tragic moment. Like when all of a sudden you realize that people think of you every single time they see the color purple because you are obsessed with it.*

I have unsuccessfully tried quitting Diet Coke several times since. I know it's not as bad as being addicted to heroin, but before I tried to quit Diet Coke, I hadn't known that I was susceptible to addiction at all.

* That happened with a friend of mine from high school

Saturday, December 15

Notes on an ADD scandal

When I emailed my mom about seeing the psychologist to get tested for ADD, she responded: "I am beginning to think we all have ADD." She then cited having too much to do as the problem. I don't know exactly what she really thinks about this issue, but I do know that she refused to put my ADD brother on medication even though he almost failed out of high school. Needless to say, I simply can't wait to spend time with my mother during the holidays.

I saw the psychologist on Thursday, and he said that based on the test I took, it is "highly probable" that I have ADD. Since it's not as though you can draw blood and test it to find your answer, that appears to be as official as it gets. I'm sure my mom will love hearing that.

To get to the psychologist's office, a mile from the train station, I waded through two feet of snow on a busy highway with no sidewalk while a sheet of icy sleet slapped against my flimsy umbrella. The psychologist called me intrepid when I got to his office, which I guess is appropriate, although I was thinking more along the lines of "poor" or "dumbass" or "don't know the number for the local cab service." As I was leaving I silently pleaded for him to drive me to the train. No such luck. I started back, and just as I began to think "It's not THAT bad walking in the dark during a snowstorm with no gloves, kiddo!", an SUV pulled up beside me.

"Do you need a ride?" I heard.

I turned to face the car and quickly scanned the interior: a woman driving two little girls seated in the back. Since it didn't resemble the opening scene of a horror movie, I gratefully accepted the offer.

I've never accepted a ride from a stranger before, and wasn't quite sure about the etiquette. Obviously I thanked them, but then what? Do you let the driver run the conversation? Do you attempt to provide entertainment as payment for their kindness?

"Headed home?" I asked, when nobody spoke up.

"No, we're just going for a drive," Replied the mother.

Who the fuck just drives around for fun in the middle of an ice storm? I thought. This seemed a little bit more like that horror movie.

"How fun!" I said, also thinking about how environmentally irresponsible pleasure-driving is. Here was a woman wasting gas by driving for FUN in an SUV. Basically, my enemy.

Funny how I'll bite my tongue as long as someone's helping me out... I guess I understand Republicans now.

Thursday, December 13

Lost in thoughts.... about thoughts... wait. What?

I'm getting tested for ADD.

My dad was diagnosed a few years ago. He researched it, talked to professionals about it, and started taking Adderall. In high school, he took my brother to get tested. My brother was also diagnosed, and after taking Adderall his grades went from D's to B's.

I've always done well at school, but mostly because I know how to bullshit. I never actually read most of the books that are assigned to me, even though I am taking classes that interest me. I have other symptoms as well: I tune people out in conversation (even when I am interested), I start projects but don't finish them, I can't read more than two sentences to a page at a time without getting distracted.

It's gotten to the point where I feel like I have no idea what the hell I am doing, every day. And I hate it. No matter how many lists I write, I can neither complete things on the list nor find it. The more this happens, the worse I feel about myself. Why can't I read a book?

The thing that really scares me, though, is having to figure out what the problem is if I don't have ADD.

Monday, December 10

A Loudmouth moment

There's this girl in my film class (let's go with the name Loudmouth) who is so horrendously irritating that I actually cringe every time I am near her. She's one of the people who tell you the most mind numbing stories you're likely to hear in your entire lifetime. Clipping my toenails is more entertaining than listening to her speak.

She loves to point out things that are better left alone. In class today, she giggled and announced: "You're blushing!" to someone who had just shown their film and was waiting for our critique. How kind.

Last week, she started an argument with our professor in front of the entire class. Maybe it seemed like a good idea to her, but the prof certainly didn't seem to think so.

Tonight I went out to dinner with two of my friends from class (if greasy fast-food really counts as dinner). I put my hands on each of their shoulders and said: "Raise your hands if you think Loudmouth has Tourette's!"

Neither of them rose their hands.

Needless to say, I felt pretty stupid. Still, me being a bitch does not change the fact that I daydream about duct taping Loudmouth's lips together.

Sunday, December 9

No more entertainment

For some reason, I always thought that I had to entertain people with my blog posts. I wasn't allowed to be boring. Something that's boring isn't post-able.

Well fuck that.

Caring so much about entertaining everybody who reads what I write is exhausting. I think instead I will write whatever I want.

I'll start with a few things I never would have shared before.

- Yesterday I danced topless with my friends. It was fun.
- I really like pot. I started smoking it by myself this year.
- I hate the US. I don't know what country I like better, but I plan to look into that.
- Pop culture makes me angry. A lot of it is degrading to women, which I can't stand, which brings me to my next point:
- I am a feminist.

That's all the honesty I think I can squeeze out of myself for now.