Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dear Mr. Postman

Dear UPS Man,

Please... Go on without me.
I can't stand the idea of you seeing me like this, so strung out and lost, waiting for you. Only you. I'm sorry, I have no intention of making you feel bad. After all, I started this whole thing. I knew exactly what I was getting myself into when we entered into this arrangement. I knew you had other... obligations, responsibilities to which you needed to see. I knew, but recklessly I heeded none of the warnings. And no I am paying for it. Paying dearly. 

You said that you would come by today. You said you would, but the day is drawing to a close and you have not appeared. I don't want to be that girl. I don't want to demand an explanation, and I don't want to whine. That's not me. But maybe that's just it. Maybe I have become someone who I am not. I have been waiting for you all day and it feels like an eternity. At first I would just glance at the clock, anxious, excited but playing it cool. But then the hours stretched out and I began to look longingly towards the door. And now? Now I wander around the house aimlessly. I can't get myself interested in anything anymore except listening for your knock. It's all I can do to not sit and stare at the door, just waiting, waiting for you to come. Every footfall that echos desolately just outside my door, I think it's you. Every truck breaking out on the road, I think it's yours. I eagerly rush to the balcony to look down, my hear jumps at the thought of seeing you walk up the stairs. And always, once again, I am crushed, disappointed, and saddened. My neighbors walking by all give me pitying glances. I don't care. I hate myself this way. I hate it. I hate to admit how desperate I am. It's gotten so bad. So very bad. I've gotten so desperate (and I am ashamed and embarrassed to admit this) that I've started asking around to see if anyone in the building has seen you today. They all shake their heads and pity me as I turn away, dejected. Oh, you should see the pity in their eyes. Is there anything so unintentionally cruel as pity?

But you, you are not cruel. I just know you would never intentionally do this to me. Maybe you did come by. Maybe you did and I missed you. Did you? Did you come by? Did I somehow miss you? I must have. How could I have missed you? I have thought of very little else for these long hours I feel like there's no way I possibly could have. Did you knock and somehow I didn't hear? You must have. You must have come by. It's so late and you wouldn't do this to me, you just wouldn't. You must have come and gone, though I'll never know how I might have missed you. You left no note, usually you leave a note. You always leave a note. Only the heartless wouldn't leave a note. Unless of course you did leave a note and by some cruel twist of fate it was caught by the wind and borne away from me. And I am left here, desolate and alone, questioning everything.

Maybe I got the day wrong. Yes, that must be it. I must have gotten the day wrong. You must have promised to come tomorrow, not today. You must have promised that. Not today, some other day. That must be it. Tomorrow is but a few hours away... Perhaps my hope will bloom with the morning sun. 
But no. No. I musn't be naive. I know it was to be today. I poured over our every previous communication and I know I was not mistaken. Today was the day. You are just not here. 

I waited. I waited longer than I should have. The sun has long gone and even the last lingering glow of the liquid gold of the sunset has melted into the cool blue of night. The hours have dwindled along with the last shreds of that hope that I clung to. This must end. I can't do this anymore. Believe me, everything that we have... had... I hold dear. The golden days of our past and the carefree nature of those early times - the promise of new things, the lengthy letters we sent each other, the anticipation - all those moments will always be dear to me. But I can't do this any longer.

We've always known, you and I, that we are from different places. I knew, I knew when we started. But as time goes by I find that not knowing where you are is gnawing away at me. I am no longer the girl I used to be. I hate to see myself this way and, for me, no, for both of us, I just can't let myself go on like this. I've become a shadow of my former self. Lonely and sad. Desperate. God I hate being desperate.

And so that is why I'm going to have to leave. I have to. I have to leave. I just can't wait any longer. I just can't. I'm so sorry. But I know you'll get on without me. You will. I know you'll move on to bigger and better things. I've always known that you would. So go. Please. Go and be great. Go and know that I only have kind thoughts towards you. I wish you only the best; more than the best even. I wish you all the good in the world and I wish you godspeed in your travels.

But please, if you could, do me one little favor. For me and for all that we had if you could just do me this small favor. Please come back tomorrow because I really need my replacement phone.

Thank you.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


 There is something about hand-painted signs that I love so very much.

 Last Wednesday morning I sat in the window alcove of the Pork Store Cafe on Haight Street. It was a bittersweet morning but then, departures tend to be bittersweet, don't they? We three sat around at a last brunch sort of thing for a friend and I tried hard to not be jealous that I wasn't the one leaving. Because that's usually how it goes. Usually I'm the one leaving, and it was a reversal that I wasn't particularly fond of.

But then, I don't usually drink coffee either. You can't really sit at a greasy spoon and not drink coffee.

 There's something obviously nostalgic about a good diner. I always feel like the scene unfolding before me needs to be written down. And let's be honest, it's probably been written down a hundred times before. But I tend to get the same feeling sitting there that I get when I read Steinbeck. It's the reflection in the malt machine behind the counter at the Golden Poppy (Sweet Thursday, page 166, Penguin Classics, 2008 ed.) and it's Ella sweeping up the crumbs under the counter stools (p 28). Something about it always feels like 6:30 in the morning, when you're up for work but there's nowhere you need to be anytime soon.

 And the best thing about a good diner is that it feels the same every time, everywhere. And even if it's not, I'm sure my mind creates it to be. Expected is comfortable. (It's the same reason that I love airport Starbucks: no matter where in the world you are, every Starbucks is the same. And even though you're off looking for adventure, it's always nice to see a familiar face.) And it's always comfortably the same. The food is always deliciously similar, there always seems to be light streaming in from the windows. The coffee always has the same weak constitution and even the people tend to be exactly what you expect. The cooks in their white jackets and hairnets (and checkered pants, if you're lucky) tend to be the kind of hard men who, away from the controlled chaos that is their jobs, do actually smile. The tend to holler at each other over the sizzle and the din. The waitresses (because they tend to be waitresses) always tend to either be young, middle aged or old, and they always very obviously fall into one of those three categories. And they all always tend to be the usual mix of sweet and cynical, weaving as they do between the sticky tables with the orange handled coffee pot. The regulars always seem to be the same crusty types that tend to occupy the end stools at the diner in the morning and the bar at night. It doesn't matter if you're in San Francisco or just off Route 66 in the middle of the country. It doesn't matter if you are 19 or 89, if you're sitting hunched over a place of eggs at the counter of a diner, you look like a crusty old regular.

 And somehow it is always Sunday morning at a diner. It's the smell of bacon and hash browns frying and golden oldies crackling over the loud speaker. Comfortable and familiar, warm and cozy.

And that's a pretty accurate description of how I feel about hand painted signs.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mood Music

In an entirely expected way, I have found myself once again obsessed with a particular song. 

I've written before about the evolution of a radio song and my tendency towards fixation on certain songs. About how I hear them and then leave a tab with the youtube video of the song open on my browser for the next three weeks and then listen to the song eight to ten three or four times a day. But you know what? I know that (much like John Lennon) I am not the only one. We all know what it's like to find a song that perfectly compliments whatever the current flavor of life we happen to be living. 
Right now for me, that song is this song:

Who says that musicals are wrong? Apparently people do break out into song while walking down the street. 

And it's perfect. It's perfect for the mid-summer lull and moments of bittersweet contemplation. It fits my mood and it fits the weather, which has flowed between a peaceful and lazy sunny and a cozy foggy (though admittedly I'd be happier if I could be wearing shorts and a t-shirt like she is). It is the kind of song that should be in the background while you sit at a cafe and be creative or cook in the middle of the afternoon in a kitchen that is clean and bright, and it's the kind of song that you want enveloping you in iPod isolation as you ride the bus to work and watch the people flash by.

I love the original, and it's a go-to when I'm applying my war-paint for a night out. But this acoustic cover? It's just the song to listen to while I while away my currently zen days day dreaming.


An Unneeded Explanation

I am technologically inept. Sometimes I joke that I'm a luddite; that's not entirely true, but it feels like it sometimes. Especially when both of my parents are social media mavens and I'm still not entirely sure what this whole "twitter" thing is or why the pound sign has suddenly become one of the most-used keys on a standard keyboard. Sorry, hash tag. See? Technologically inept. 
I mean, I can Google it like the best of them and sometimes even figure out how to do the things that the cool kids do on the internets. And I often do because I am so ridiculously controlling. I spent three hours trying to figure out how to use conditional formulas in Google spreadsheets so that putting an "x" in one box on my to-do list, like so:

This is the part where you type an 'x' into the box.
You have to do SOMEthings manually...

would result in a strike-through of the words in the previous box. 

Like so. You know, what it would look like 
if Google didn't hate me. 

I figured it would be a simple "if/then" conditional formatting formula like the ones I learned in 7th grade computer class. Turns out it's not. Turns out you can't do the that in Google spreadsheets and it pisses me off to no end.
I can get that shit centered, and outlined and show only the parts of the spreadsheet that look like a To-Do list (I can even screen shot things and put informative red arrows next to them before adding them into my blog), but I can't get the x to strike-through the previous box. The majority of those three hours was spent digging deeper into forums looking for the one tech-savvy saint who had cracked through the binds of Google docs and could deliver to me the freedom to format my online documents EXACTLY the way I wished them to be formatted. Turns out, no such guy. But such is my tenacity. (and/or mule-like stubbornness.)

So then defeated, I complained about it to everyone who didn't care and who wouldn't listen. 

This is all a long-winded way of voicing my frustration that you can't switch the primary email address for a blogger account and I don't want to a) start a whole new blog or b) have to log out of my current Google account/internet life and log back into the annoyingly cryptic email account that I created when I was 16. Because when you are 16 you didn't realize just how minutely intertwined your virtual life and your real life would come and so it seems like a good idea to create an email address that has nothing to do with your name and everything to do with your inexplicable love of airplanes, women's history and poker. Because that'll look good on a resume someday. Facial piercings I can own in a job interview, a perplexing and solidly teenage email address? No coming back from that.

And so to sum it all up, there are now two authors for this blog.  They have different profiles and follow different blogs, but they are both me. I hope that's not confusing. (More than that, I hope you don't actually care. Because if you did, that would worry me.) Wish I could have merged the two but Blogger seems to think that is a horribly unreasonable request.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

It's about time

Good lord. It has been a hot second, hasn't it? 

I did that thing where I got settled in to a new life, didn't think it much to comment on and/or found myself incredibly busy being incredibly awesome. Then time passed, as time is wont to do, and I started to become stressed by the lack of blog posting in my life. And THEN I'd find myself angry about the stress, which would continue to keep me from posting, just out of spite. Then I got embarrassed by the excruciatingly long time lapse and just couldn't bring myself to return. 
Just kidding. Those last three things didn't happen. I just got caught up in the inertia of not posting. 

But now I'm back! Don't worry, I'm still incredibly busy being incredibly awesome, I just decided it's time to re-start the effort to find my 15 minutes of fame via the internet. Usually at this juncture I would just start a new blog. 

There is something rather wonderful about a blank page full of possibilities. 

However, I've become attached to this one, and it's awkwardly long title. Besides, we have a bit of a history, this blog and I. I've told some good stories, if I do say so myself. Besides, I never decided that life was no longer an adventure to be lived (catch that double negative there?). And there are still stories that deserve to be told. 

 Don't worry, it's all part of my Newest Grand Plan

Friday, April 15, 2011

What Happend in Vegas

Have you ever been to Vegas?
Let me describe it to you. People will tell you that Vegas is like Disneyland for adults, but the thing is, Vegas only looks like Disneyland for adults. Like Disneyland, everything looks a bit fake; it’s all too pristine and oddly disproportionate. Like Disneyland, people walk around in costume and there are rides, and bright lights and loud noises. Like Disneyland, you can explore different worlds: The Venetian, Excalibur, Ceasars Palace, Treasure Island! (Interestingly, there is also a Treasure Island in Disneyland.) And adults get just as excited about going to Vegas as kids do about going to Disneyland. So yes, Vegas is like a Disneyland for adults. But that’s not what it is. Vegas is a giant pit where people go with stacks of money, preferably big bills, and then they throw those stacks of money into the pit and watch the bills flutter down to join their brethren.

So when a friend called a few weeks ago to ask if I wanted to go to Vegas I said yes, yes I do. I figured, I was unemployed, I'd go to Vegas and make money! Because, here’s the thing: I thought that if you were wily enough (and few are), you could find your way into the pit and grab armfuls of cash to bring home with you. And of course, I assumed I was one of the blessed few.

I was wrong.

Once decided, I had to plan. As you know, I made myself a list of things that I assumed happened during every trip to Vegas, so I knew to pack only the essentials: a zebra striped dress, two pairs of high heels, a bathing suit for the daytime, a pillowcase (for the dimes I would win), something blue (for the wedding), sneakers (for the chase). I never did locate the Acapulco shirts and I ended up deciding against the fedora. I didn’t even bring anything to sleep in because I assumed that no one ever slept in Vegas ever and that hotel rooms were just a formality.

By some miracle, I wore pants and a sweater on the plane because it turned out to be a solid 60 degrees in Vegas, with a chance of showers, for the entire time I was there.

Sadly, wearing that sweater was the best real luck I had all weekend.


I knew that luck wasn’t on my side before I even got on the plane.

I will be the first to admit that I have a time management problem. But, with a 2:30pm flight, I’d given myself plenty of time to catch the bus to the airport. And yet, somehow, I still managed to miss the bus downtown to the airport bus. I tried to walk and ended up having to book it in 80 degree weather. By the time I found the bus stop, I was blistered, dripping in sweat and too late. So I had to take a cab. And that, right there, was the first place I lost money.

But I got to the airport on time! I checked in and joined the line for security. 1:50 pm. Perfect. My flight was scheduled to leave at 2:25. Perfect. Then I looked up at the departure board. Those angry flashing red letters read LAS VEGAS - 2:15: NOW BOARDING. Shit! SHITSHITSHIT! When had they pushed the departure up? Shit! I panicked for another 10 minutes before calling over a security guard and asking him what to do. “Will Southwest keep the door open until 2:15? Do you think I’ll make it?” He basically told me to start asking people if I could go in front of them. Most people responded kindly to "MY PLANE IS BOARDING!" A few people did not. But either way, I jumped the line, raced through security, sprinted to my gate, fumbled for my boarding pass and shoved it into the hands of the man standing at the (thankfully) still-open door. The guy took one look at my ticket and he goes “No, you're over at THAT gate.” Confused, but convinced I had no time to argue, I ran over to THAT gate and looked at the sign: El Paso - 2:25. Wrong. I’m not going to El Paso, I’m going to Vegas. So I ran back and said "NO! I'm going to Vegas!" and he looked at me and said, "Obviously you have a layover in El Paso because your ticket says you're going to El Paso." I look down. So it does. That’s right. Damn.

The topper? My flight was delayed and we didn’t end up boarding until 2:40. I slumped down in a seat, trying to hide from anyone walking by who I'd cut in front of in the security line.

NOT a good start.

But despite all this I made it to Vegas, hoping beyond hope that I’d just run through my allotment of bad luck.

We were based in Excalibur: a GIANT toy castle filled with slot machines. Well, to be fair, there are other things besides slots, but I had a bit of tunnel vision. I don't know if you know, but I LOVE the slots – it’s almost a problem. I find that I did not blog about my disastrous experience with slot machines at a casino in Costa Rica. Probably because I was embarrassed about it. I ended up losing twice what everyone else did. I mean, when all was said and done, with the exchange rate and everything, it was really only seven dollars. But still, the memory of sitting in the blue glow of the video slot machine and mindlessly feeing it money, not even really seeing the screen in front of me, well, it’s shameful.

So it was a familiar feeling when I walked into Excalibur and my fingers started itching. “Just one sec guys, I’m just gonna… I’m just gonna be over here for a minute. Just at this slot machine here… Just for a minute.”

Inevitably that “minute” stretched for anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.

But that comes later.

That first night, after getting all dolled up (gotta look good for Lady Luck, right?), our little posse hit the casino floor in full Oceans 11 slow motion. Our game of choice? Craps. Well, I shouldn’t say “our” game of choice, because my game of choice was quite different.

See, someone told me that so many people lose in Vegas because they win a bit on the machines and then try to parlay that on the tables and end up losing big. With that in mind, I formulated my plan: I’d play it safe. I’d bide my time on the slot machines waiting to hit big money and then never play big on the tables. Also, I figured on beginners luck. I just always assumed that I’d be that person who casually drops a quarter into the machine on the way out the door and wins the jackpot.

So we devoted the night to wandering from casino to casino, collecting chips and free drinks and I spent the entire night sneaking off to play the slots.

Disaster struck sometime around 3am. After hours of walking around in heels and feeding on nothing but free booze, I wandered off, unsupervised. My feet were hurting so I sat myself at a video roulette machine. All-too-aware that there was no one around, I suspected this would be the perfect time to win big. Nearly alone in a giant hotel, just me and the machine. The tension was palpable and you would almost hear the showdown music whistling in the background while tumbleweeds danced.

Instead of finding myself suddenly in possession of thousands of dollars, I just sat there, feeding that stupid machine money, entirely unaware that I was placing $5 bets each time. In the space of 5 minutes, I’d lost all the cash I had with me. And believe you me, it was far more than $7.

Depressed, disheartened and defeated, I returned to the group, head hanging low and proceeded to mope until we returned to the room a half an hour later. And that’s the story of how I wasn’t allowed on the slots by myself for the rest of the weekend.

The next day, dawned surprisingly bright. After only a few hours of sleep we took to the streets of Vegas. I wore hangover sunglasses, but only for effect; I was feeling surprisingly light and chipper. Our little tour took us into a few different hotels, and to a few different craps tables and a few more slot machines to which I a few more dollars.

The good thing about getting up and out late, is that there is not much daylight to burn before it’s nighttime again and the adventure rages on in full force. Over margaritas and chips we planned. A review of the list revealed that, the night before, we had achieved not a single thing on it. Everything was left for that last night. Oh what a night it was going to be! On the way home, it appeared that my luck was turning. Someone cried “tiger!” and I wheeled around, beside myself with excitement and joy. Already we were going to cross something awesome off the list! But it was a cruel trick – I didn't find a live tiger, resplendent and roaring; I found giant stuffed tiger with a somewhat squished face.

And sadly, that's as close as I got to anything on the list.

I’ll skip over the last night, mostly because my memory does. I tried to take a power nap at about 1am and failed. Which I realized when I woke suddenly at 10am in that "too-little-too-late" frenzy, still in my dress from the night before, face smeared with makeup and the beginnings of the worst hangover I’ve ever had. Which, really is just how it should be after a night in Vegas, ammIright?bAnd while I didn’t cross anything off my list, I did get to enjoy my very own classic Vegas moment a la The Hangover: a trip down an unfamiliar memory lane looking through the pictures from the night before. My favorite is a picture of me hugging someone in a penguin costume. Why there was a penguin at Excalibur, I’ll probably never know.

On the way home, I lost $10 more dollars at the airport slots.

And you know what? It was totally worth it. All the money hurled into the Vegas pit, the hangover, the complete and total lack of showgirl headdresses, it was all totally worth it to get to spend three days with good friends. Plus, it was valuable reconnaissance. Because next time? Oh, Vegas better watch out for next time. If this weekend was legendary, next time can only be absolutely EPIC.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Everybody knows what happens in Vegas

I am vexed.

This is because I leave for Las Vegas in less than 24 hours and I can’t find a single Hawaiian shirt and I seem to have misplaced my copy of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

I have never been to Las Vegas. All I know of Sin City, I’ve learned from popular culture. So I am pretty confident I know what this weekend has in store for me: it will involve a giant white whale of a Cadillac, a live tiger, a plot to take down a casino, three double cherries and a bucket full of dimes, at some point someone must get married by an Elvis impersonator, and I’m sure I’ll end up donning a C.S.I. jumpsuit. If I’m lucky I may even get to be chased through a casino kitchen by some sausage-fingered, neck-less hulk of a security guard who will then threaten to break my knuckles or something. And of course there will be Sinatra. That goes without saying. (Perhaps I should also bring a fedora.)

One thing is for sure, if I go the entire weekend without finding myself in possession of a showgirl’s headdress, then the whole thing will have been a bust.