Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Halloween Bacchanal

DISCLAIMER: This true story is just a lil' bit graphic. Graphic for my life, at least. Maybe for you it's totally normal YA FREAKS! Anyway, if it's going to be awkward for you to read this story coming from me than I suggest you turn away now. This means you, mom. And mom's friends who compose roughly 90% of my readership.
If you're still with me after the disclaimer, get ready for a doozy. In honor of Halloween, I present to you the true story of the grossest Halloween experience I've ever had. For some of you, this is mild, I'm sure. But for me - who lest we forget, is not exactly the hard-partying type - this was pretty nasty.

Let's take a journey, shall we? The year was 1892* 2010, and I was living in an apartment with three other dudes. I had transferred colleges and been roomed randomly with strangers - we got along totally fine, though we never hung out outside of the apartment. One of my roommates was named Ham. Ham was not his real name, but to explain why I'm giving him the code name Ham would reveal his identity. He was a perfectly nice guy - dressed well**, wore his hair all nice, in good shape - much preppier than I am, though there's nothing wrong with that, I'm just trying to create a comparison here, jeez.

*Flowhs, flowhs fo' sale!
**Though once, right after I moved in, he looked through my closet, spotted the single brightly-colored paisley button-up shirt I own (I almost exclusively wear muted tones) and went, "What is this?" with a tone that suggested his eyes hurt from being accosted by such a garish garment. "Just for fun!" I chuckled, just wanting to be liked.

That year on Halloween I came home relatively early for the holiday - let's say one or two in the morning. I'm in my room, typing a Facebook message to a friend in Africa when I suddenly hear a commotion outside of my door. "Just lay him on the couch, get him over here, set him down" I hear the voices saying. Hush, I think, I'm writing over here. I deduce based on the fact that I don't recognize any of the voices that Ham is the one these people are trying to lay down. Then I hear pounding on my other roommate Kenny's door, followed by his voice joining the fray. The whole thing is greatly disturbing my concentration. Then the conversation really ratchets up a couple notches - overheard lines include: "Can you just stand him up for me? Walk with me to the bathroom. That is disgusting. It's all over him! Oh god, he puked everywhere. Could you guys stop having sex? I'm getting less hard!" that last exclamation delivered in an Australian accent.

Yeah, uh, I think it's time to figure out what the hell is going on in my apartment. It's my obligation, really. I exit my room, pretending to be awoken by the kerfuffle. My roommate Kenny is sitting on a stool at the island in the center of the apartment, and Ham and his friend (who I later learn is named Jordan) are in the bathroom, where Ham is relieving himself of the contents of his stomach. By puking. Kenny looks really amused by not annoyed - he's a very relaxed guy.* He casually points out to me that there's puke all over the floor and on our couch. This is when I begin to feel nauseous; I smell it. I hustle over to Jordan, asking if there's anything I can do to help. He says not really, but he warns me that two people are having sex in my bathroom (there were two bathrooms, one Ham and Kenny shared and the other that me and the fourth roommate shared). "Are you joking?" I ask. Nope. Jordan crosses the apartment to my bathroom, knocks and the door and with the pleading tone of a little kid being picked on, is like, "Come on, guys, he's really sick! Stop having sex!" I too would also like them to stop since they're in MY BATHROOM. It is at this point that Ham stumbles out of the bathroom. "Hey bud" I say. "Hi Jeremy" he says back. I make a mental note to remind him forever to call me Jeremy.

*Kenny was so chill; one time, I brought a group of MY friends back to the apartment after going out, and I found out the next morning that one of my ladyfriends drunkenly and mistakenly got up to use the bathroom and went back to the wrong room and got into bed with him. Horrified and embarrassed, the next day she decided she had to apologize to him even though we were all sure he'd slept through it and had no clue. "Hey Kenny, did you know I got into bed with you last night?" she asked. "No, no I didn't" he said with a sideways smile and the relaxed cadence of a surfer bro. "I'm really sorry." "It's totally cool."

The two lovers exit my bathroom. Oz and Shania (not their real names, natch) protest they weren't having sex. Nobody believes them. Oz - named for his Australian accent - says to me, "Oh, you're the other roommate? I've visited three times and you're never here" in a very accusatory tone. First, I think, uh-oh am I antisocial but then I'm like, UH there's bigger fish to fry here, Oz. The gruesome twosome then go into Ham's room and shut the door. As the universe collectively rolled its eyes, Ham stumbles over to the couch, and Jordan goes "NO NO NO DON'T SIT-" but it's too late, and Ham has sat in his own puke. Awesome. Jordan is a actually a very nice friend, constantly talking to Ham, reassuring and helping him. Kenny and I, however... well, Kenny is sitting at the counter eating spaghetti* and I'm awkward. I feel as though I should help, so I plug my nose and lay some paper towels over the mess. Jordan, clearly exhausted and overworked, is on the phone with a friend saying that he's never seen Ham like this. He also uses the word fag a bunch. I suddenly like him less. Somehow we have a bucket** and we give it to Ham, and the three sober people take a breather and are chatting in the kitchen when I see Ham hurl again, completely not even close to the bucket, just onto the ground.*** Sickened, I start spraying Febreeze like a maniac when we hear moaning coming from Ham's room.  Yep - moaning. "Oh my god you guys, Ham is puking and you guys are still having sex!" Jordan yells. "I only gave them one condom", says Kenny. "I guess they're going green", says I.

*One of my friend Jenna's favorite anecdotes from my time in this apartment is that one time, we were hanging out watching TV when Ham joined us with his dinner plate. The dinner he had prepared for himself? Spaghetti with chicken nuggets on top. "Not a meal!" Jenna said to me, invoking our favorite phrase, "not a thing".
**Bizarrely, this is only my SECOND-best story that involves buckets appearing from nowhere. No joke. I'll save that one for later...
***Thankfully it was mostly water. Also EW.

Ham is talking but nothing he's saying makes any sense, like word salad. It's like he's trying to communicate but what he means isn't what's coming out of his mouth. He's still heaving a little. Oz and Shania exit the bedroom, Oz wearing only Ham's blanket. We explain to them that Ham is still throwing up. "Oh, that's not good" is their sentiment. "UM YEAH" says our collective thought-bubble. Jordan is mad at them for sexing while Ham was so sick. "We were just making out", says Shania. I worry for Shania - I think someone needs to explain to her that making out doesn't usually involve condoms. "Are you naked under there?" Jordan asks Oz. "I like to sleep naked" he says, and while 98% percent of me thinks, "oh yeah, I'm sure, that's why you're naked", 2% of me is like, "maybe it's an Australian thing". And then, as if putting the cherry on top of this ludicrous night, Oz turns around, drops the blanket, and flashes everyone his ass. Hooray. Oz decides Ham should be moved to the bathroom. Shania and I discuss whether Ham will pay to have the carpets steam-cleaned. And then Oz and Shania go back into HAM'S ROOM to sleep in his bed. SUCH AWESOME FRIENDS they are! Truly selfless.

At a loss as to what to do further, I try to convince Ham to lie down in the bathroom, but he doesn't want to. Me, Kenny, and Jordan stay up chatting and keeping an observant eye on Ham, who eventually drifted off to sleep in an upright, sitting position. The time now 5:00 AM, I decided to go to sleep and crossed my fingers I wouldn't dream about the various different types of horrors I had just seen.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYBODY. Have spooky scary vomit and/or naked Australian-filled nightmares!

Denouement - A month or so later Ham wrote on Oz's wall for his six-month anniversary with Shania - "awwww Ozzypoo and Shay. Happy 6 months!" - and it came up on my newsfeed.  "GROOOOSSSSSS!!!!" I shrieked, alone at my computer, "YOU'RE AWFUL!!!! I HAD TO LYSOL MY WHOLE BATHROOOOM!"

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hard-Knock Life

Well, I'm not having a great day. The unfortunate thing about my agreement with myself that I write weekly is that sometimes - as Sarah Michelle Gellar-as-Christina Aguilera once said - I ain't feelin' it. But I fear that if I stop writing once a week, my readers will all leave me (both on the internet and in life, obviously). So while I'm not in my funnest of moods, it's been a week, the clock is up, and I'm due another post. So apologies in advance for the (relative) downer this week. And if this is your first time reading my blog, uh skip this week and read older ones first. I mean it. Cause I'm usually way more funny - and even occasionally charming.

So while it was kitschy fun at first, this unemployment thing is really wearing thin. And while I love things that are thin*, I'm starting to devolve into an insane cat lady. Remember the cats I wrote about last week? The ones I was getting used to? They are now my minions. Oh yes, Buster and Lucille are now my best and only friends, considering their mom (a.k.a. my roommate) actually has a job and is gone most of the time. At first it was they, the cats, who were excited to be friends with me. Buster would climb into my lap and nuzzle up, falling asleep on me. Lucille would leap onto my bed while I was laying down and start sucking on my ear.**

*Especially when the thin thing is me - former fat child, remember.
**What a little pervert.

Thinking they were obsessed with me - cause who wouldn't be - I began to become attached to them because one of my favorite qualities in others is loving me. "These cats just love me", I told myself, knowing that since somebody thought I was cool I was therefore cool, because that's how coolness works, right? RIGHT? So getting comfortable with them, I began to enjoy picking up Buster and squeezing him while saying, "little fatty! You little fat man!" Or scooping up Lucille and puppeteering her little arms around and making her dance. I laughed as I jabbed them (lightly!) in the stomach with the remote control and watched as they flailed confusedly.

Long story short the cats aren't so into me anymore. I know, I'm shocked too.* Apparently they don't love being physically assaulted with regularity. This would not be as disconcerting as it is if I had a job or, say, anyone else to love me talk to. I had two job interviews last week, both for ACT/SAT tutoring positions. See, despite my lack of maturity, I do very well on standardized tests. One interview was over the phone, and one over Skype. The Skype interview asked for business attire. The fun thing about doing an interview over Skype is that you can do your whole interview with no pants on! Dress shirt, suit jacket, no pants, ahthankyou


A friend wondered how that worked, so I almost texted her a picture of me in the dress top-half, no-pants bottom-half, but then it suddenly felt too close to sexting and I got very uncomfortable. The point is, going pantsless in a situation like that is really fun, not because you're not wearing pants, but rather because the other party doesn't know you're not wearing pants. It's these little moments of secretly pulling one over on someone else that make life special, don't you agree? Anyway, if you can have a conversation with someone wherein you can be pantsless and they won't know a thing about it, I highly recommend it. It is so choice.

Unfortunately, I was rejected from the first job, and woke up this morning to an e-mail telling me I was rejected from the second. A lovely gut-punch to start the morning. I had hoped (against my better judgment) that maybe this would work out and I could breathe easy for a little bit. Oh well. I pulled out my laptop and started pulling up more Craig's List job postings, pouring through them - office listings, marketing jobs, temp work - until I felt completely full of dread, sick to my stomach, and had to stop. I just suddenly felt a part of an endless monotonous drift towards a life with no excitement. I had a vision of the future, That's So Raven-style, only instead of seeing myself falling into a cake or dressed up as old lady like Raven usually does, I saw myself not working or worse, working at a job that I cared noting about and fulfilled me in no way, coming home every night and watching TV, nothing gratifying, nothing to look forward to, and nothing to feel good about until the day I die.




...comedy? COMEDY?

So we come back to the beginning of this post. Sorry to be a bummer, but I still just haven't quite shaken this blue feeling. I could really use a Pumpkin pie. Like, an entire pie - I've eaten an entire pumpkin pie in a day before, and I'm not afraid to do it again, okay? Don't push me. But, y'know, I guess not every day can be bells and whistles and laugher and comedy. I'll be fine later, I'm sure. It's not like I'm looking for a career right now; I'd just like to pay my rent. And besides, all this REALLY DEEP PAIN and pathos are really giving me material. Oh yeah, these are really the hard knocks.

You guys, I think when something actually bad happens I'm probably not going to hold up that well. Just a hunch.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

It's My Birthday and I'll Dance Even if I Really Don't Want To

This is a tale that makes me feel queasy inside, but I feel that humiliation breeds character comedy, and if my humiliation helps me come up with a great post for this week, then it’s all worth it.

Because something this dumb would only happen to me. See, I’m special! A special martyr!

So it was my birthday a week or so ago. AND NO I DIDN’T GET ANYTHING FROM YOU AND I’M CERTAINLY NOT MAD ABOUT IT OR ANYTHING. A CARD WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE BUT WHATEVER.* I took two weeks before I could write about what happened this year on my birthday because just thinking about it caused me full-body-turning-red-sweaty level embarrassment stress memory for days afterward. Luckily the wound has healed a bit so I can deliver it to you, where you can read in safety with the cozy knowledge that this did not happen to you, but rather to me.

*I also enjoy chocolate.

“Good lord”, you’re thinking, “what could have happened to him that was so horrific?” Well, long story short I killed a homeless guy.

No, I’m just kidding. He’s fine. It wasn’t that bad.* BUT IT WAS PRETTY CLOSE. Quickly I’m going to give you some backstory you will need to set-up this tale of woe and body-rolls: I was in a commercial once. It’s not a big deal, but someone I know got me a gig dancing in a casino commercial. It was kind of funny and a nice way to make some quick cash and a story for a later blog. But it was jokey, club-y dancing. The kind of dancing Andre can do quite well. Six months later, right before my birthday, this same someone contacted me with an opportunity to dance as extra in a Bollywood film shooting locally. Yes, I’m aware this is completely ludicrous.

*Keepin’ it in perspective.

I’m assuming because I had casually danced in that commercial they figured I could dance again, and while I wasn’t quite into it, it paid ONE MILLION DOLLARS. I’m sorry, I mean ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS. A thousand dollars! For a day’s work! As I am currently unemployed (with rent looming), this was too good of an offer for me to turn down simply because it caused me a little discomfort. And besides, everything causes me discomfort. We’ve been over this

But I'm not stupid. As a method of uncertainty/anxiety reduction, I e-mailed this someone. "Hey, so I really appreciate you letting me know about this opportunity, but I just want to make sure this isn't like real professional dancing or anything. I am not a dancer, I can't even touch my toes, so I certainly can't do a pirouette or anything. If it's just sort of fun dancing I can do that." She e-mailed back saying I could do it, so I figured it would be okay even though I still felt weird about it.*

*If you in the audience are screaming "TRUST YOUR GUT!", congratulations, you are much better at being me than I am. I will happily hand over my life to you - not that you'd want it, good god.

A couple days later - on my birthday - she e-mailed me saying I needed to go to a rehearsal that day in order to be eligible. This rehearsal was in the city, and I was in my suburbs to have dinner with my family. I was starting to get stressed now, firstly because now I had to drive into the city and back, but predominately because birthdays are supposed to feel good and I was now feeling anxious and sad that my birthday wasn't going well. Stress about stress - it's my M.O.

Telling myself over and over I was going to make one thousand dollars, thus making the whole thing worth it, I drove downtown. When I arrived at the address, I noticed it was a dance studio. This was a bad sign. My stomach sank. But I had come all the way downtown, so I followed the sound of Bollywood music upstairs. Inside the studio, people were dressed in leggings and other dance-y clothes and doing stretches, warming up. Oh no oh no oh no I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT. Would you like to know what I was wearing? Jeans and a sweatshirt. "All right, let's get started!" The choreographer shouted. I want to die I want to die I want to die. I went up to the woman collecting paperwork. She seemed not much older than me and therefore I decided she was the closest thing I had to a friend. "Excuse me..." I mumbled, "this isn't for, like, professional dancers is it? Because I can do, like, fun dancing but I can't even touch my toes, and I certainly can't do a pirouette" I laughed nervously, repeating the e-mail near verbatim. "Yeah, the call was for pro-dancers." She said. I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I WANT TO DIE. "Are you ready to go? We're starting!" Shouted the choreographer. I kept rambling to the woman -"because I did not want to waste anyone's time or anything so I specifically asked if this was, like, real dancing." "You asked who?" She said, looking confused. "My agent" I responded immediately. I have no agent, but I chose to say that because it probably sounded better than "some lady". "Well", the woman began, looking at me sympathetically, "How about you just give it a try? If you don't feel comfortable you can stop." "...ok." I said, always the fucking people-pleaser, trying to be nice and polite, don't offend anyone... THAT'S HOW I GOT INTO THIS MESS - I didn't want to seem unappreciative of the opportunity so I accepted it even though I was NOT comfortable.

"OKAY, here we go, it's ONE TWO THREE AND FOUR, FIVE SIX SEVEN AND EIGHT." The choreographer started. They really talk like that. They also really go, "and then it's BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM" for the counts too, just like on So You Think You Can Dance! Also just like So You Think You Can Dance, we were dancing in front of a giant mirror, which was a nice bit of salt in my wound because I was forced to watch myself as I attempted to flail with rhythm. Some of the moves I was okay with - some sliding, some body-rolling, some step-touching - but then there were really fast combinations that I just could not do. At one point we had to spin on one foot in a circle and land without losing our balance (which I, shockingly, could not do), which I BELIEVE IS CALLED A PIROUETTE. Oh, and also, I was sweating like a crazy person because I'd been dancing for, I don't know, FORTY MINUTES in jeans and a big baggy sweatshirt. I knew that I looked as stupid as I felt. I suppose that it's entirely possible - in fact, probably highly likely - that nobody was paying any attention to me. I know that I'm anxiety-ridden and insecure and I tend to assume everyone is laughing at me. But I truly felt like a giant swollen sore thumb that EVERYONE was watching and wondering "What is he doing here? He's terrible!" I felt so deeply humiliated. At one point I'm pretty sure that the choreographer actually was staring at me in shock.

Forty minutes feels like a long-time when you're filled to the brim with embarrassment. I kept waiting and waiting for the rehearsal to stop, even just for a minute or two. Finally we had a five-minute water break, which for me was an opportunity for prison break. I ran up to my paperwork-lady. I apologized for wasting her time but told her I was not capable of doing the dance, and she apologized for the mix-up. I told her it certainly wasn't her fault, I just felt really bad and I was really sorry and I had a gut feeling and I should have trusted myself and I JUST KEPT TALKING. I KEPT TALKING AND SWEATING AND TALKING. What had been a understanding expression on her face had by now shifted to an incredibly wary one. "My leg is shaking" I said, looking down at my trembling leg, "that happens sometimes when I get really nervous". I WAS IN CRAZYPERSON MODE, the stress and embarrassment had pushed me into full-on raving neurotic territory. Wanting this woman to not think I was insane, I sputtered, "When I get really nervous I just keep talking!"*. "Ok!" She said with a tone that said this conversation was over five minutes ago, I was very polite about it, please go now. And so I did. I got out of there as fast as I possibly could.

*I have this instinct that if I point out what's wrong with me before other people do than it isn't as embarrassing. It's like dumping a date before they dump you, sort of. The thought-process is: I see what's happening, so I'm not crazy!

I'm pretty sure the thought process is WRONG because in retrospect I think it makes me look CRAZIER to be pointing out my own insanity.

I drove all the way back to the suburbs, trying to shake the embarrassment that continued to wash over me in waves. It would die down a little, then I'd remember the tiniest moment, like the shock in the choreographer's face and BAM it came flooding back. I tried to push the feelings deep down. I tried to think forward, picturing the delicious dinner I'd have that night for my birthday, since, oh yeah, it was my freaking birthday.

When all else fails in situations like these, I try chanting my mantra - "this will be great for my memoirs, this will be great for my memoirs, this will be great for my memoirs..."

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cats and Clothes

I finally moved out of the suburbs, which, while hopefully a good thing, requires actually moving out of the suburbs. Moving is like the movie John Carter, in that they're both the worst thing ever. As such, I packed almost nothing - nothing decorative, no posters, no keepsakes, nothing sentimental, which is unlike me - it was essentially just a mattress, lots of clothes, and a box of DVD's. The move went very smoothly, but afterwards my entire bedroom was filled with boxes. This was annoying for several reasons:

1) I had to unpack everything.
2) I needed to unpack everything.
3) I don't know the spell from Fantasia that makes inanimate objects sort themselves.
4) I don't know the spell from Harry Potter that makes your room clean itself.
5) I didn't want to unpack everything.

As it turns out, for someone who doesn't care about clothes at all, I have a lot of clothes. I deliberately dress in a way that doesn't say anything about me, all non-descript and muted; my goal with the way I dress is not be noticed by anyone ever. But somewhere along the line I apparently accumulated a lot of muted clothes. I started emptying out all the bags, tossing clothes into sorted piles as best as I could. "Shorts, pants, ugly shirts, ok shirts, those shirts that you really like..." I started by hanging things first. Looking at all my winter things hanging in the closet, I was a little depressed by the color scheme; black, grey, forest green, navy blue, maroon. I dress like I'm the human version of the Zoloft blob.* I started throwing shirts onto the bed, hitting one of the cats, who scurried out from under them.**

*If, y'know, the Zoloft blob became human for a day after making a magical wish to a genie or on a star, or a deal with the devil or Ursula, or found a Zoltar machine. I'm still working on the pitch, okay?  But Zoloft and I think it's going to be both a box office hit and a great victory for product placement.

**One of the first things I noticed about these cats is that they love to jump up onto my bed with me. For a split second, I thought, "Oh no, what if someone is in bed with me and they're allergic to cats?", but then I laughed out loud, remembering, "nobody's going to be in bed with me!" and then cackled wildly before descending into silence.

Oh, did I mention I have cats now? My roommate has two cats, Buster and Lucille, so I guess now I have two cats, though I think of myself as a step-parent if anything. As a dog person, this has been odd. I don't really have a problem with cats, but cats hate me. I don't know if I smell like dog or what, but they greatly dislike me. I once went to my friend Andrew's house, and upon entering saw his cat, smiled real big and said "hiiiii!" in a high singsongy voice. The cat responded by hissing loudly and viciously. Andrew stood dumbfounded. "In eight years he's never done that to anyone", he said. Well, that was before he got a little of the old Alex charm! Am I right, people?

I am still unemployed, but I attended a job fair last weekend and hopefully some of that Alex charm worked on some potential employers.

Alex, smiling brightly: Hi, my name is Alex, I just graduated-
Employer: *HISS*
Alex: Oh, um - yes well, anyway, I majored in Communications-
Employer licks his hand while staring bitchily at Alex.
Alex: So, I have a copy of my resume...
Alex begins to hand paper, but employer scratches his hand, drawing blood.
Alex: Ow! Ow, ow, okay, I'll leave now, Jesus Christ...

Hopefully more of them were dogs than cats. But these cats have been pretty cool with me, perhaps because they've figured out I'm living here and therefore should not be messed with. See, I have no problem bopping them on the head (in the style of Little Bunny Foo Foo) if they give me trouble. I sat petting Buster on the couch for maybe ten whole minutes when he suddenly bit me. Without a second's hesitation I grabbed the spray water bottle and immediately sprayed him in the face. He stared at me, shocked. "I'm not having that for a second, got it?"

I apparently think I can teach cats to be nice more often than I realize. Last weekend, I was petting my friend Michelle's cat for a while, getting along fine, when she bit me. I grabbed a small pillow and bopped her on the head (sorry, Michelle). She hissed at me, and I bopped her again.* "Why?!" my friend Cary asked. "Because I was letting her know if she thought I was scared of her, she had another thing coming. You wanna hiss at me? Guess what, I'm not scared of you for a second!" "She's a cat! She doesn't understand that!" "All I'm saying is, if she wants to challenge me she should know that she's gonna lose. It's not smart to start a fight with a bigger animal! She should know that!"

*It's worth noting that unlike my new cat roommates, this cat is a total bitch. Like, my cats are mostly nice, okay - this cat has always been a total asshole.

Maybe how that's I should've dealt with that employer. Next time, I'll go in with a plan.

Alex, smiling brightly: Hi, my name is Alex, I just graduated-
Employer: *HISS*
Alex pulls spray bottle and sprays several times.
Employer HISSES loudly.
Alex: BAD! Okay, bad! Now here's my resume...
Alex begins to hand paper, but employer bites Alex's hand.
Alex: NO! Take the resume-
Alex pulls out a pillow and WOMPS employer on the head.
Employer scurries away.

I may not get a job, but at least they learned they can't mess with me.

What's that? I still have to pay rent? Oh.