a note from the sub

the things i forgot to tell you today, because i was too busy botching all of your quiz scores.

Month: March, 2014

motivation

Dear Dad at Undisclosed Popular Housewares Store,

As I endeavored to close the elevator doors at [Undisclosed Popular Housewares Store] and travel to the floor on which I was under the impression that I had parked (I hadn’t;) as you might recall, your young child kept running over and pressing the “up” button, thereby repeatedly causing the doors to reopen just as they were about to close, as he squealed in delight at my [impressively] restrained protestations.  As I grew visibly anxious, you laughed and shrugged as you called to me, “Kids!  Whaddya gonna do?”

In case you were unclear, the look I gave you in return translates directly to: “Eat shit and die” (meaning “Ingest feces and then immediately cease to exist,” not to be mistaken for “Eat, shit, and die,” that’s the importance of proper punctuation, kiddos.)

Here’s the thing.  And this is for you too, children.  I spend more hours of my life around kids than I do around adults, or even just hanging out by myself (my most preferred mode of hanging.)  And, more often than not, when I am around you, I am asking you to stop doing something, or giving you some sort of inane, half-baked reason you shouldn’t do something you obviously shouldn’t fucking do.  Having caught you in the act of picking your nose, I am ordering you to go wash your hands in the bathroom, and then having you slip your little boogery hand in mine as I escort you down the hallway to it.  I am constantly getting knocked over and/or hit in the face with all sorts of PE equipment because you collectively decided to disregard the rules of whatever weird ass game you’re playing.  Unfailingly, it is I who have my expensive designer clothes marked up with sharpies or oil-based paint, regardless of the number of times I implore you to check and see what’s in your hand before you begin wildly gesticulating as you debate Star Wars or Lego Star Wars.  And the only person, it would seem, to ever follow the school’s internet safety rule to always keep your Instagram profile set to “private” is ME, which, as far as I can see, has served only in preventing me from ever making it to the popular page, which I am quite positive a number of my dog posts would, given the opportunity.

Let me answer your question that I was previously unable to for fear of cursing in front of your precious child.  “Whaddya gonna do” is that you fucking attempt to motivate your child to stop being a jerkwad.  As I attempt to do, every single day of my working life.  I find bribery to be extremely effective when your imagination fails you.

Is it spring break yet,

Miss What’s-Your-Name-Again?

 

 

 

 

 

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wicked witch

Dear Children,

Today I don’t know why you decided, arbitrarily and unanimously, to begin to refer to me as “The Wicked Witch.”  I had been nothing but nice to you, nicer than you certainly deserved, and had, in fact, carefully avoided extensive interaction with you for this precise reason… let’s be real.  You’re cute, and you’re young so there is time for you to evolve from the smelly, vindictive little creatures that you are.  But today, you were just cute, smelly, vindictive little four year olds, standing on the top of the play structure, chanting and pointing your grubby little fingers at me, screeching “WICKED WITCH, GO AWAY!”

It was a lose-lose.  But I am not the bad guy.  I just happened to stumble temporarily into a role that, actually, I have long suspected I was destined to play, ever since I first saw  The Parent Trap.

This may be news to you, but there was a Parent Trap before the Lindsay Lohan one (and this may be news to you, Lindsay Lohan is that girl from the movie Mean Girls, and the girl who was always in court or rehab, who is not Amanda Bynes.)  When I watched the movie as a kid, when Hayley Mills and Hayley Mills took the despicable stepmom-to-be, Vicki, on a camping trip, my reaction was abject horror.  I have always held a strong dislike for activities involving nature because I fear both being destroyed by large beasts (i.e. lions, bears, sharks) and being in unavoidable close proximity to insects.  So when the twins fool this poor woman into thinking she can ward off mountain lions by beating two sticks together, and give her sugar water spray to “defend” against mosquito bites, the only person I identified with was Vicki, the wicked stepmom-to-be, who would eventually get dumped when the girls’ father realizes he’s still in love with his ex-wife.  Oh.  I’m sorry if any of you haven’t seen The Parent Trap.  Spoiler alert.

In fact, as my mother reminded me when I warned her I would be posting this strange, personal, essay- Vicki in fact was a conniving, money-grubbing ho who was only interested in living Real Housewives style with Hayley Mills and Hayley Mills’ rich pops.  That only serves to show how greatly the plot sequence affected me; by the end of it I was willing to forgive her all of her poor choices simply because, in the woods, I fucking felt for her.

Some time after I broke off my engagement, my ex began dating a girl we had done a play with maybe a year before we broke up.  When I heard this news, the irrepressible and fascinating suggestion that I was the Vicki in this story began to germinate in my mind.  I can remember rehearsals for that play so clearly; I remember her, so young and fresh and cool.  And I remember myself: tired, bitter, miserable.  My relationship was ending, by all rights should have ended already, but I was nowhere close to being able to face it, couldn’t imagine ever having the strength or the will to leave, so instead I was just overwhelmingly unpleasant for a million reasons that weren’t the right one.  I can just hear the audience watching it all, shouting at the screen, “Don’t marry her!  She’s awful!!  What about that other girl over there??”  It is a horrifying and utterly mesmerizing thing to envision the movie of your life, and see yourself playing the Vicki.

Look, clearly there is a lot more to this story than my unpleasant self and my ex and his lovely girlfriend, but that’s not the point.  I hope I will someday have a chance to virtuously snag my dream guy from the clutches of a Vicki somewhere, who will, in turn, find her own happiness, but that’s not really it either.  I guess my point is: you can call me whatever the hell you want, because I think I’ve been it all so far, kiddos.  And you will too.  And that’s life.  I hope.

But in the meantime: I’ll get you, my pretty.  And your little fucking dog, too.

Miss What’s-Your-Name-Again?

friendship or 10 Things That Are True When You’ve Been Best Friends Since Kindergarten

Dear girls,

If I could teach you one thing in these precious, formative years of your lives as social beings, it would be to value your girlfriends. That your most treasured, ride-or-die gal pals are the ones who smuggle a tube of slice-and-bake cookie dough into a showing of Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights when that boy you are in love with sends you an email telling you that the singular thing he will regret most in his entire life is hooking up with you. They gamely volunteer to escort you to your film premiere where your ex will be with his much younger and skinnier new girlfriend. They help execute the birthday night out you accidentally fabricated to get a boy you have a crush on to hang out with you. And they arrive, once more, with a tub of frosting and bottle of sauvignon blanc, when you realize it was probably unwise to fabricate a birthday night out with a boy you have a crush on when you are in the middle of a major depressive episode.

That is what girlfriends do, my little chickadees. But friendships are hard, so much harder and potentially painful than anyone ever makes them out to be. I know you know this, because it hurt when Paige told you that you were no longer her best friend, but her second best friend, because Marielle was her first best friend because she gave her one of her brownie bites at snack. Believe it or not, it actually gets worse as you get older and better at bullshitting, because you will eventually tag Paige when you repost a Buzzfeed countdown of the 10 Things That Are True When You’ve Been Best Friends Since Kindergarten, but will tell Marielle over margaritas at Pink Taco how Paige is a fucking hot mess and you wouldn’t even believe what she did in the bathroom at Bar Lubitsch last weekend. You will learn that good girlfriends are actually excessively hard to come by, and bad girlfriends are lurking everywhere: in the breakroom, at pilates class, just waiting to ensnare you with how cute your style is, and you wouldn’t believe what my ex just posted on Instagram.

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I had a friend like that, we will call her What’s-Her-Face, to preserve her anonymity (and my safety.) She came to me in a usual friend way, thrown together in a work setting, instant girlfriend-chemistry. We sheepishly admitted to each other, after lunch, that we had both called our mothers to tell them we had met a new friend, and how great she was. I found her at a good time, I was in the midst of my cataclysmic breakup/ disengagement; he was moving out in an extremely slow and painful way, I often feared for my safety in the face of his terrifyingly heightened emotional states. She was sympathetic and generous, allowing me to crash at her place, welcoming me into her circle of friends when I was left friendless. Best of all, she was full of issues of her own, and had no qualms with acquainting me very intimately with all of them, which allowed me an escape from the shitstorm that had become my own life.

What’s-Her-Face’s generosity was in curious contrast to her extremely selfish emotional landscape which, I feel I have rightly assessed, was greatly attributed to longstanding issues with abandonment and damaged self-worth, as a result. I understood her failings and used them to excuse her (more than) occasional bad behavior. She was left psychologically devastated by an ex-boyfriend who, by all standards, was a shitty person who used her weaknesses to manipulate her. Talking her through an emotional episode was like traversing a minefield; say the wrong thing and it was an explosion of anger and confusion. It exhausted me but, perversely, I also liked it. I didn’t want to take care of my baby of an ex, but without someone to tend to I felt bereft; it was nice to feel needed again.

Two years ago, having just moved into my new apartment, I received the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to Africa for work. She sat on my couch and updated me on her ex’s appearances on social media while I finished packing/ emptying my fridge of perishables. As we were walking out the door, she told me to give her my house key, so that she could check up on the place every once in a while. I was going to ask my neighbor with the yappy dogs, but she insisted. I guessed it was nicer to have a friend do it, so I gratefully acquiesced.

We kept in touch while I was in Africa, but my access to the internet was limited. We were granted a restricted amount of data a week and I spent a lot of it receiving blurry photos of my dog from my mother, who was dogsitting him. What’s-Her-Face was going through a particularly difficult time, something involving her ex, I honestly can’t remember. She had a particularly bad moment and I, unfortunately, was either working or sleeping or downloading a blurry photo of my dog… I wasn’t there to answer. Feeling abandoned by me, our next conversation was an explosive one, or as explosive a conversation as one can have via gchat (it involved a lot of caps lock) and I, being tired and busy and just a little homesick, for once could just have none of it. That was the last time I spoke to her while I was abroad. Little did I know that, as punishment, she would proceed to not check on my apartment once in the two months I was gone, where a large trash bag of rotten fruit I forgot to take downstairs spent the summer generating a massive colony of fruit flies.

Do you know how fruit flies manage to seemingly appear out of nowhere? They’re tiny motherfuckers, that’s how. They can get through microscopic crevices in walls and windows, and all you need is one and they can lay up to 500 eggs in your old, rotty fruit. And anyone who has had the pleasure of being acquainted with those worthless little assholes knows that, once you’ve had them in a bad way, it’s impossible to truly get rid of them. I’ve had a problem with fruit flies ever since and, every time I kill one, I think of her. Much like our friendship, which was based on convenience and mutual using of each other, all it took was one little rotten piece and the whole thing went up in a mushroom-cloud of nasty little fuckers. That’s a rotty girlfriendship for you, my girls.

It’s been two years since I’ve spoken to her, and my life is immeasurably better. I have girlfriends who are truly the greatest gift I could ever ask for, kind and honest and weird and true, and I do my best to treasure and honor our friendships in the way they deserve. I channel my nurturing instincts in a far more harmless and acceptable way: by smothering the shit out of my dog. What’s-Her-Face is now happily coupled, and living what appears to be an extremely posh, idyllic life, according to Instagram. I would like to believe that she’s changed; that love may be so transformative. That this man’s companionship could turn a selfish, emotionally unstable girl into the perfect friend and lover. But I would also really like to believe that the Lock Ness Monster exists. So there’s that.

Cherish your girlfriends. Get rid of the bad ones. Don’t keep old fruit in your apartment.

Love,

Miss What’s-Your-Name-Again?