Monthly Archives: April 2013

So, this just happened…

I just surrendered my back porch.

I’m…I’m not even sure how it happened. One minute I’m sitting out there with my cup of coffee, enjoying the spring sunshine, and the next…well, the next I’m on the losing side of a vicious battle I didn’t even know I was involved in until it was too late.

But perhaps I should start at the beginning.

Everything you’ve ever read about me and insects is true (I know this for a fact since if you’ve read anything about me, it was written by me since I am the only one who feels I am important enough to write about). At this point, I’ve had so many epic battles with bugs and other vermin that I’m practically a seasoned four-star general (that loses a lot, including losing three and a half of her stars).

(Examples can be found here and here and here and here).

So you would think at this point, I’d be used to it. But I’m not. Which is why when a seemingly friendly bumblebee tried to become all buddy-buddy with me by invading my personal space, the following happened:

Bumblebee1 Bumblebee2 Bumblebee3 Bumblebee4

Sure, the bumblebee probably meant no harm. But I’m a big believer of there is a reason Nature was invented and that reason is so bugs have some place to live far away from me so I don’t have to see their stupid faces.

Now, that whole episode in and of itself wasn’t that big of a deal. But then, not even five minutes later, a wasp decided to check out the situation. Which is when this happened:

Bumblebee6 Bumblebee7 Bumblebee8 Bumblebee9

Then it got quiet.

A little too quiet, if you know what I mean.

And then, just when I thought it was all over, that’s when, for the first time in recorded history, a wasp and a bumblebee put aside their differences (and century-long feud over whose stinger was bigger) to come together to defeat a common enemy.

Granted, I can’t be too sure of the details considering they hatched their plan out of my sight, but I’m pretty confident what happened next is the bug version of an ’80’s movie montage, which I would love to draw for you if it weren’t for my lack of artistic skill in trying to create a believable dressing room. So instead I will simply describe the montage:

SCENE ONE: Bumblebee and Wasp, both indignant over my treatment of them, spread out a blueprint of my back porch and look very serious while pointing at things and sticking pencils behind their ears.

SCENE TWO: Rapid-fire images of them running up steps, lifting weights, boxing each other, running up steps again, dragging a Matchbox car behind them with a tiny rope, running up steps again, playfully squirting water on each other from their water bottles, close-up of their bug muscles in action and finally reaching the top of the steps where they do a total rip-off of Rocky.

SCENE THREE: Obligatory dressing room scene where they take turns coming out of the dressing room dressed in different military/ninja/soldier gear while the other one shakes his head no, followed by one coming out in a ballroom dress (for some cheap laughs), finally followed by the perfect outfit, which is exactly what they were wearing before.

SCENE FOUR: The two of them sawing some wood and using those fire thingies that weld stuff and you have to wear those creepy masks like in “Flashdance” that I was never allowed to use in shop class after a completely innocent incident where Pete Mackleroy’s hair caught on fire.

All of which culminates in the following ingenious plan:

bumblebee5

Yes, for no less than 15 minutes, I was held hostage in the corner of my porch while these two played out their evil plan. They had even anticipated my counter-tactic of crawling across the porch floor, military-style, in a desperate bid to reach the door.

It’s all kind of a blur now, but somehow, by some miracle and no shortage of pure, unadulterated bravery on my part, I managed to finally run inside and slam the door behind me, leaving them glaring at me from behind the glass.

And that’s where they still currently are. Manning their posts. Refusing to let me back outside. And laughing their tiny, stupid, bug-faced laughs.

I guess I really only have myself to blame. I did strike the first blow.

Although, if my friend Billy is right, this whole harrowing experience was actually a conspiracy, with the bumblebee and wasp running interference for some shady caterpillars cooking up meth in the corner.

caterpillar1

P.S.: The battle is far from over…check out my update on the situation here.

Advertisements

HOW TO MAKE ENEMIES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately from family and friends around the country about what it was really like on Friday here in Boston. And despite the fact I consider myself a professional wordsmith, smithing those particular words is turning out to be harder than I thought.

The best anecdote I can give is that I woke up on Saturday exhausted and my entire body physically sore, which was probably the result of sitting on my couch watching the news for 15 hours and unable to relax any single muscle until the suspect was declared officially in custody. And when word came down that he finally was caught, I let out a huge sigh, which was probably a response to feeling like I had been holding my breath all day.

But then, THEN, I started to get retro-actively angry. And not all of it was entirely aimed at this tiny, tiny, petty man who had managed to hold my entire city hostage for a day. I was also angry at all the ignorant social media messages posted by tiny, tiny petty people who had used this tragedy to promote their own pro-gun agenda. From Arkansas legislator Nate Bell’s incredibly insensitive tweet about liberal Bostonians probably wishing they had an AR-15 as they cowered in their homes, to NRA supporters gloating over the bipartisan gun control bill being voted down while innocent people in Boston were having their legs amputated and West, Texas was reeling from their own tragedy, to even a few friends reposting disgusting and ill-timed memes of the president, a man who was busy trying to help Boston and West, Texas and the rest of the country heal.

All of it was horrifying and soul-crushing.

Because while there is a time and a place to have a RATIONAL debate about gun control, particularly after the tragedy in Newtown, this week wasn’t it. And using Boston as an example certainly wasn’t the place.

I woke up to a war zone on Friday, as did all of Boston, after only four days of living through another unimaginable tragedy. And let me tell you, what happened that day was a beautiful example of true patriotism.

See, while Nate Bell was busy having masturbatory fantasies about playing Rambo through the streets of Boston as he personally killed all the terrorists of the world, the patriots of Boston were staying in their homes with their doors locked because we knew that the last thing the police and FBI and military members (who had been working non-stop since Monday) needed was to worry about us. Their job was to make sure they got this guy without anyone else getting hurt and our job was to let them do it. We didn’t riot, we didn’t form militias, we didn’t try to hunt down a possibly bomb-strapped bad guy on our own to “help.”

(Speaking of which, for all their big talk, I didn’t hear of one single anti-gun-control advocate that was mouthing off on Facebook hopping on a plane to Boston and publicly declaring their intention to help catch this guy with their own personal AR-15. Not a single one came up here, tapped the police chief on the shoulder and said “don’t worry, we got this, why don’t you guys take a rest.”)

Boston kept calm. We carried on. And when the police did the job that we pay them for and that they are trained for, we came out of our homes and stood with our families in the streets, cheering them on as they made their way home to their own families after an amazingly well done job.

And as for all the people posting ignorant statements that one madman would never be able to hold their own city in Texas, or New Mexico or wherever under siege because they all own guns, all I have to say is 1. I hope to God you never have to find out and 2. You never bring an untrained civilian with a gun to a bomb fight. That is, of course, unless you don’t care how many innocent people get hurt in the process.

The NRA and die-hard gun advocates are their own worst enemy. Not just because they’re giving a bad name to gun-owners everywhere, almost all of whom are responsible and good people.

And not just because they dared to say that the American people have spoken when the gun control bill was, pardon the pun, shot down. (Even just the smallest amount of unbiased research will reveal that the only people who spoke that day was the NRA and the legislators that are in their pocket since the overwhelming majority of people feel like I do, which is that people should have the right to own guns but there should be background checks and restrictions on Internet sales.) And not just because they keep repeating the untrue mantra “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” (Even the smallest amount of critical thinking skills will reveal that a person with an automatic gun with a high-capacity magazine can kill a lot more people than a person with a rifle.)

And not just because they distort the facts on a regular basis and try to scare people into thinking someone is coming to take away their guns. (Even though no government official has ever knocked on the door of a law-abiding, gun-owning citizen and demanded they hand over all their weapons, no questions asked).

It’s because through all of those tactics combined and the complete lack of tact they showed this week, they have turned someone like me, who supported the Second Amendment and wasn’t very vocal on the issue of gun control, into a very vocal enemy. An enemy who believes these gun nuts should have absolutely no lobbying power in Congress.

And I’m sure I’m not the only one.

A Mile Away from Tragedy

When tragedy strikes, heroes emerge.

By now most people have heard of the heroism that came in the immediate aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. The journalist who put down his camera to help an injured woman. Spectators who ran toward the explosions to help, instead of running away from them. The runners who after making it through a grueling 26 miles continued to run all the way to the hospital to donate blood. The police and EMT’s. The volunteers. All of them doing whatever they could in the chaos to help save lives.

Heroes. True heroes.

All of them.

But it’s a different story a mile away.

I watched the horror unfold probably just like you did. I was gathered around a TV with a group of people surrounding me, all of us trying to make sense of a world that no longer made sense. The only difference is I was in a bar along the marathon route. A place where the bartender refused to turn up the volume or turn on the closed captioning for fear of inciting panic. So instead of hearing an anchor give details, all we heard was speculation coming from a dozen different directions at once from confused patrons.

“Oh my God, is that purple stuff blood? Oh God, it’s blood.”

“I heard there are still bombs along the route. We should all leave.”

“No, the police are telling everyone to stay where they are.”

“They’re shutting down public transportation.”

“Don’t use your cell phone. That’s how they’re detonating the bombs.”

“My cousin said one hundred people are dead.”

“No, it’s only about a dozen.”

“I heard only two, but one is a kid.”

A mile away there is no smoke. No blood. No severed limbs. No screams. There is only large groups of scared people trying to sort out the information from the misinformation. We were far enough away to probably not be in any danger but it still felt like we were in danger. We were all desperately trying to get ahold of our families to let them know we were OK only to realize with growing panic that our phones weren’t working. As agonizing minutes ticked by, we watched our phones blow up with calls and texts we were unable to answer.

A mile away, there isn’t much you can do to help. All you can do is hand out cigarettes to people because if there was ever a time to smoke, now would be it. You hand them out to the two guys who can’t stop talking about how two people died and how they happen to be two people and how by that logic it could have been them. You hand them out to the guy walking down the street who is looking for his friend whom he lost a few hours ago and is worried he left to be closer to the finish line. You even hand one out to the young, drunk, scared girl who won’t stop talking about how if a bomb was going to go off, they should have done it at Fenway where there was a game because somehow in her young, drunk, scared mind, blowing up baseball fans is better than blowing up marathon fans. And you just shake your head and forgive her because she’s young, drunk, scared and alone.

A mile away, there is a frat house that turned their lawn party into a way station, offering passerbys water or food or cell phones or cell phone chargers. Or probably, if you asked them, they’d even offer you a much needed hug.

A mile away, there is a former EMT who keeps reassuring you that everything will be alright, she promises, when you hear that another possible bomb went off in a building close to your husband’s work and you start to freak out that he’s now in danger and as an afterthought that you’re all still possibly in danger and the terror isn’t over.

A mile away, there is a someone who let’s you get snot and eyeliner all over his shirt as you cry on his shoulder in front of another TV in another bar farther away from the finish line because you don’t know where else to go when the president makes his address about the tragedy.

A mile away, there is a friend who presses a crumbled $50 into your hands and insists you take it so you can hail a cab home instead of taking the subway since the police are advising everyone to avoid crowds.

A mile away, there is a cabbie who let’s you tell the story of the first time you ever went to the Boston Marathon two years ago when you first came to Boston and how moved you were that so many people would stand for so many hours cheering on runners they don’t know and cheering just as loudly for the last runners as they did for the first.

And five miles away, when you finally get home, there is a husband who lets you collapse into his arms sobbing because you both made it through this horrific day alive.

Yes, heroes emerge in a time of tragedy.

But a mile away from tragedy, there are only people doing whatever they can, whatever gesture, big or small, to help each other get through one of the worst days in American history.

Spring Cleaning for Lazy Dummies

Guys.

Guys.

GUYS.

Spring officially arrived this morning. And not that manic-depressive spring we’ve been having that’s been passive-aggressively toying with our emotions because it wasn’t hugged enough as a child by Father Winter.

No, I’m talking about stable because it’s happily hopped up on pills and booze spring.

Or at least it has in my neck of the woods. Sunny, breezy, mid-60’s perfect spring. For the first time in MONTHS I was able to open the windows, letting out the stench of cooped up dog and overcooked Christmas ham.

The birds are chirping. The neighborhood kids are outside playing (and/or reenacting scenes from “Lord of the Flies”). The random dudes who are somehow related to my landlord and store their stuff in the garage are in my driveway working on their RV or possibly building a meth lab in their RV.

Yes, it’s a beautiful day.

So beautiful that when I got out of the shower, I half expected a bunch of birds to fly in, towel me off and throw a bright pink Disney princess dress over my head that floated down and fit me perfectly. And then some happy squirrels would intricately lace a bunch of flowers in my hair. And then my dog would come running in and eat them all.

In fact, this weather has put me in such a good mood I actually cleaned. Better yet, I even went to the store beforehand to buy ACTUAL CLEANING PRODUCTS instead of wiping off the counter with leftover dog shampoo and my husband’s Green Lantern T-shirt.

Like, I scrubbed the TOILET. I mopped. I finally threw out the aforementioned Christmas ham that had been hanging out, possibly gaining consciousness, in the fridge.

I even made the bed (and by “made the bed” I mean picked the sheets up off the floor, since my husband and I are those kind of sleepers who thrash around violently in our REM cycles, and then haphazardly laid them back on the bed).

Yes, I hate to be this person, considering I didn’t get to where I am in my writing career (underpaid and underemployed) by being positive and non-sarcastic, but this weather has definitely brought back a spring in my step (pun COMPLETELY intended…also, sorry).

And guys, this could just be the vitamin D talking here, but it’s enough to make a girl think that everything is going to be OK.

Dear all the pretentious writers in Starbucks…

I remember once hearing a teacher say something along the lines of “an object in motion tends to stay in motion and an object at rest tends to stay at rest, especially if that object is a person sitting in a coffee shop and you want their seat.”

Or something like that. I don’t know. I was too busy sending professional-grade, orgami-esque folded notes to my best friend about very important topics, such as what fast food restaurant parking lot we were going to hang out at after school.

school note

But even if “technically” not being able to find a seat at Starbucks or some independently-owned cafe that prominently features “local” art of dudes in fedoras playing the saxophone on the walls isn’t considered “science” or whatever, it should be. Because the evidence, based on my extensive research over the past 30 minutes, is irrefutable.

See, as a freelance writer, I am constantly in search of anything that can distract me from actually writing or doing anything productive that might result in something tangible, like a paycheck. And having run out of distracting things to do at home (now that my husband has banned me from dressing up our dog in period costumes and recreating scenes from classic literature since it was, and I quote, “having a negative effect on Buffy’s mental health”)* I decided to go be one of those people who writes in public so everyone (other writers) can stare at me instead of actually writing while I stare at them instead of actually writing.

*Buffy did, however, make an incredible Anna Karenina, if I do say so myself. Until he started chewing on the toy train I kept ramming into him.

Only I never actually got to do that. Because no matter when I go to a coffee shop, no matter what time of day or day of the week, rain or shine or mid-hurricane, the place is already filled with other people whose husband’s have apparently also banned them from dressing up their dogs as Jean Valjean. And this afternoon was the last straw. I literally stood there, hovering creepily over people sitting down, for a full 30 minutes and a seat STILL didn’t open up. Not even when I politely but firmly started coughing on them.

Just who are these people?

I mean, I know in general who they are. They are that group of college students that has at least one of every major race represented and are working on some stupid group project that makes them overuse the word “juxtaposition.”

They are that Very Important Business Man in a cardigan who is waiting to meet someone for a Very Important Business Meeting, which is why they won’t let me sit across from them. But the thing is, the person they are meeting NEVER, EVER COMES.

They are the two moms with the giant strollers and yoga mats who just left Mommy and Me Pilates class with their demon spawn and are taking up the entire back corner so they can sip their green tea latte and discuss Derek Lam’s new line at Kohl’s.

They are the chick who just got done jogging and decided that instead of going home and taking a shower, they should get a hazelnut frappuccino and write the Next Great American Novel.

Now, granted, without further research, all I have right now are a few theories about how these people keep getting these seats, which are as follows:

1. The American obsession with gourmet coffee has created a new race of hybrid humans that are composed of 70 percent caffeine. And the only sustenance they can survive on is seasonal lattes and those 140 calorie cake pops. So, to ensure their survival, these people start lining up outside the doors at 4:30 a.m. every single day and then sleep outside the building when it closes.

Or…

2. Whenever potential coffee shop owners see a group of fairly attractive and diverse people milling about in a small area, they just start building around them and thus the people you see in there every day taking up all the seats now live there and are never allowed to leave. This would also explain why you can never actually get into, let alone use, a Starbuck’s bathroom. It’s actually someone’s apartment.

Alas, we may never know the true answer since 1. I’m extremely lazy and probably won’t follow-up on any of this and 2. I may be tired of writing at home but at least my house has vast amounts of vodka, which personally, I think helps the writing process much more than coffee.