Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What Not To Wear... Ever, Ever Again

We all have things that we are not good at. Some people have trouble saying no. Some people have trouble keeping things closed (mouths, ovens, liquor bottles). Some people—who shall remain nameless—are not terrific at managing companies without losing millions of dollars in the process.

For example.

I myself am not exempt from this. Though I realize that I normally appear flawless—an image which is relentlessly encouraged by my PR agent—I, too, have things that I do not do well.

One of those things is shopping. Any kind of shopping, really—I experience the Christmas season the way a blind person experiences pinch hitting for the Mets. There’s lots of darkness and blunt trauma to the head. But it is shopping for clothes that really makes me want to mainline strychnine.

No, I am definitely not a “fashionista” in the same way that I am not blonde, age seven, a boy, et cetera. When I was in high school (an age where most girls need to be tied to a chair to keep from spending other people’s money), my mother used to bribe me so that I would go shopping with her. (I realized years later how nice it is to have other people pay for your clothes. Fortunately, my former viewpoint still stood, and I still had the same generous mother.)

It is much the same now, and as a result I own approximately four outfits:

-The Work Suit. As I have mentioned before, I wear this so often it’s basically my default setting. Black pants, ugly but sensible shoes, some sort of blousy thing, and a blazer. It is almost never a problem to go straight from work to a funeral.

-The Weekend Lounger. Jeans and a shirt. The shirt may change depending on whether I am going on a date, hanging out with a friend, vandalizing public property (in which case it would be a black shirt), et cetera.

-The Bedtime/Workout McComfy. Boxers, T-shirt, sweatpants and/or sweater, camisole, or any variation thereof depending on the weather and my mood.

-The Dressy Dress. Until this weekend, I had one. It is black, strapless, and inexplicably sexy even on me, hater of all things strapless. I bought it for ten pounds in London when I was sixteen, and it continues to fit me like a glove to this day. Allergic to wrinkles, machine washable, and very tiny (thus placing little demand on storage space), it is the perfect dress for me. Utterly low-maintenance. I have no accessories for this dress. No shoes, no shawl, no jewelry, no nylons. I wear it approximately once every two years.

That’s it.

You probably think I’m kidding.

Another thing: I don’t do dry cleaning. I have always washed my blazers with the rest of my clothes, which was fine at my first job when I wore a kiddie blazer that I’m pretty sure was made out of cotton. But with an actual blazer, that doesn’t really work. As a result, my solution to a blazer being dirty is generally to buy another one. Either that or wash it, which I can usually get away with once before the thing is completely shredded.

We’re talking 20+ years of this attitude, my friends. That is a long time to remain ignorant of fashion basics. I consider it something of an accomplishment, but it can also be a liability. I have literally never cared about clothes, and this extends to other people as well. An ex-boyfriend of mine once showed up for a date wearing an obscenely ugly pink-and-green horizontally striped shirt. It took me half the night to figure out why I was throwing up in my mouth a little when I looked at him—this was a handsome guy. I kept thinking something was wrong with me.

All of this is a roundabout way of saying that when I enthusiastically agreed to come to Washington DC—a city to which I had never been before and about which I had heard no end of good things—to hang out with some friends of mine, shopping was not on the agenda. It never crosses my mind that some people find that a fun way to spend an afternoon. To me, it's every bit as enjoyable as flying.

But here’s the thing about hanging out with four people who like to shop and complaining loudly about how badly you suck at shopping: You might just wind up shopping. Or “being shopped,” as I like to call it.

And I’ll be damned if being shopped wasn’t—I can’t believe I’m about to say this—fun! Before I knew it, we were in a store called Express.

Express sure has a lot of clothes.

I felt very vulnerable.

“I am totally in your hands,” I said to my friends. “I’m your Barbie doll.”

“What’s your budget?” one of my friends asked.

I laughed. Lately my fiscal management style has been a combination of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and Dumbo the Flying Elephant—out of control and completely out of touch with reality. Parenthetically, this is a really bad time to be experiencing a bout of financial immaturity. I’m hoping it passes soon.

“I need everything. Just have fun.”

Boy, did they take that seriously. It was like their own personal commandment.

Before I knew it, I was trying on dresses. Me. I think the last time I looked at dresses was, literally, five years ago when I was planning to get hitched.

Not just dresses, though. My friends drew on their deep, impressive reserves of fashion knowledge and picked out quite a lot of stuff that looked good on me. I definitely remember at least one pair of pants that didn’t make me want to immediately amputate my legs.

Other things too. But mainly I remember the dresses. Despite my friends’ patient and insistent proclamations that I looked good, judging from the pictures, I was quite obviously not of that opinion. Even I can tell that the pictures are hideously unflattering not because of the dresses, but because I radiated tension the way the sun radiates warmth. My slumped-over body language and pained expression do not an attractive fashion statement make.

Alas, getting out of that store without buying anything would have been harder than getting through an obstacle course on a land mine while being chased by ravenous wolves in an acid rainstorm. I ended up buying a blazer (remember how I needed a new one?), two nice work-friendly sweaters, one of which I am wearing right now (it’s cute and keeps me warm), and…

…a dress.

A cute dress.

Don’t ask me how it happened. I wasn’t involved in the selection process.

I wore this dress on a coffee date the following day, and I was absolutely stunned by the reception it received. I’ve never had so many cute guys checking me out before that I can remember. Leaving aside the obvious feminist implications, I must admit that this was flattering.

Okay, I kind of get why women dress like this more often than every two years.

On Thursday, I am going to a Broadway show. I will be wearing a dress. Yes, two times in one week! Stay tuned for updates on the Apocalypse.

In summary: Being shopped doesn't suck too much. There’s a lesson here, friends, and I think we all know what it is.

Lady Snark could really benefit from having a team of personal shoppers at the ready.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tips For The Weary Job Hunter-Gatherer

In this distressed economy, many of us will at some point or another be in search of gainful employment. Most of us would prefer that gainful employment to be, on a social acceptability scale, a little higher than bank robber.

Since I am an expert* at finding jobs, I have taken it upon myself to compile a handy list of tips for the weary job-hunter that are guaranteed** to have you back to work in no time.

*In the sense that I am not on welfare.
**Not a guarantee.

Resume Writing: How To Feint With Impunity

-A resume is a piece of paper that documents your greatness in order to get you within shouting distance of important people that would normally scowl at the sight of you so they will give you a job. The deeper the scowl, the better the prospective job and the less likely you are to get it.

-If you do not know how to write a resume, ask a friend to write one for you. This friend should have a few creative writing classes under their belt. A nice history of compulsive lying and getting away with it doesn’t hurt either.

-A resume generally includes things like your work history and educational background, plus really self-indulgent lists of your best qualities. However, you don’t have to include every little detail. When applying for work at a Fortune 500 company, you should skip the pole dancing and the drug peddling. If your resume is a little skint and you need to fill space, leave them in but describe them creatively. “Customer Satisfaction Expert” and “Marketing/Sales Director” are much more corporate-friendly ways to describe those occupations.

Getting People To Look At Your Resume: A Guide To Stalking

-I personally get resumes all the time. I throw them out, mainly because we’re not hiring. Don’t let that stop you! A good way to make sure that the person receiving your resume will actually pass it on is to include a nice crisp Benjamin Franklin with it, along with a thinly veiled bribe note indicating that there is “plenty more where that came from.” Of course, this may backfire if you are actually hired by this company and suddenly find yourself under pressure for more bribes from that person. Every job has its drawbacks.

-To circumvent the first tip, it helps to send your resume to places that are actually hiring for a real live position. However, doing so will place you in a nasty circle of capitalist competition—suddenly a lot of people are going for the same job opening you are (as opposed to the nonexistent job opening of the company that is not hiring), most of whom are probably better qualified than you! This is a problem, unless you have some background as a hitman (“Solutions Manager”). Do not lose heart. You have a tool at your disposal that most people have too much pride to utilize: stalking.

-Call early, call often, call incessantly. Believe me, you will make an impression. If you don’t end up with a job, you will at least end up in a place where people speak softly and feed you nice meals and even provide prescription drugs, thereby eliminating the need for a job altogether.

-If all else fails, include a naked photo of yourself with your resume. If you do not think that this tactic would work in your favor, choose a naked photo of someone of the appropriate gender that will. Most likely, the person receiving your resume will try very hard to score you an interview, just to see if you live up to the photo. Obviously you won’t if you borrowed the photo, but it will not matter. This is called “getting your foot in the door,” and it’s an accepted part of the job-hunting process.

Interviewing: The Fine Art of Making People Think They Like You

-Show up on time. It helps if you schedule the interview sometime between Oprah and House so that there are no conflicts.

-Don’t smell bad. If you are unsure of the process to ensure this, most bottles of shampoo and deodorant contain instructions on the back.

-Wear clothes, preferably clothes which contain ingredients like collars and buttons and unflattery. Not only is this corporate-friendly gear, it may fool the receptionist into thinking you might yet live up to the photo you sent, if only you were naked.

-Be prepared to explain the “gaps” in your resume, such as your three years in prison. It is a true fact that if you mention the words “Witness Protection,” all inquiries stop.

-You might meet one person during the interview, you might meet eight. Keep the names straight. The old “Post-It-On-The-Back” trick is always a winner.

-If the interview seems to be going south, don’t hesitate to mention your “special skills” and throw in a wink or two. You’ve got nothing to lose.

I personally do not see how you could fail to land a job, if you follow these tips to the letter. But if you do, don’t despair. There’s always a perfectly viable alternative to living on the street, and we all know what that is: A government bailout.

Best of luck!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Day So Far, In Haiku

Holy non-haiku word
What is the sun doing here?
Go away sun.

Stomach turning tricks
Perhaps fourth Monday drink
Was a bad idea.

Why would I mind
When your stinky dog licks my clean face
On the subway?

Where am I?
I really need to develop
A sense of direction.

Oh, okay.
Just took a different subway exit this time.
No problem.

Lots of work today.
I think I will procrastinate
First, then often.

I would rather not pay for
My plane tickets, Continental.

Why are people unreliable?
I rant
As I procrastinate.

I think that my friend would like
To pay for dinner tonight
Well, okay.

Friday, September 19, 2008

No Sleep Till Brooklyn*

I can’t sleep!

*This is a song title, and not reflective of any sincere belief on my part that things would improve if I were to visit Brooklyn. If anything, the guns and drug lords would make it more difficult for me to sleep.

I have insomnia, and it’s been getting worse lately. Quite frequently I will bolt awake at four in the morning completely convinced that the house-size green elephants who were chasing me with pepper spray and handcuffs really caught me and now I am done for.

And some nights, I can’t get to sleep at all. I discover my blankets on the floor as often as not because I am an eggbeater with an attitude problem once I get horizontal, and this goes into hyperdrive when I am lying awake.

Possible Causes Of This Disorder That Is Making Me Feel Like A Character In A Scary Stephen King Novel:

-I have read too many scary Stephen King novels in my lifetime. Which is to say, two or three. I’m kind of a wuss like that.

-I am stressed out, something that could easily be remedied with a few pretty Italian boys to give me aromatherapy massages around the clock (in shifts, okay, I’m not a total despot—that’s why there are several of them).

-Too much meth abuse. I knew I should have been more wary of that cross-country truck driver and his “candy.”

-Estrogen. This is what I get for being a woman. Thanks a lot for not controlling my gender, Mom.

-Sleeping at odd hours. So falling asleep at work is a bad idea? That’s what you’re telling me?

-The government is testing a top-secret torture weapon on me that wakes people up as soon as they fall asleep for no discernible reason**

Possible Effects Of This Disorder:

-**Paranoia, but I’m sure I don’t have that.

-Hallucinations. Those damn green elephants. I thought that was a dream.

-Impaired functionality during daytime hours. “Oh hi… this is [Lady Snark]. Wait a sec… I didn’t mean to call you.”

-Eventual death. Well, we all have to go somehow.

This is, in a word, not fun.

Okay, so that’s two words.

Give me a break, I’m really sleepy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Baby Got Published!

Remember the self-congratulatory/egomaniac entry I mentioned? Here it is.

It’s true.

A person (who was no doubt drinking heavily at the time) actually read my stuff and thought to herself, “Hey, that’s pretty good! Lady Snark is one hell of a writer! I think I’ll publish this and pay her for it!”

And no, that person was not me. Of course, I do pay myself to write and praise myself copiously, because I have an ego the size of Montana. But somehow, it’s just different when someone else has these thoughts about you.

My friend Kelly and I have been writing together for months now. Our shared interests in personal finance and writing, plus the fact that we’re almost too cool to function, threw us into the following chain of events:

-I think to myself, “Hey, I like to write and balance a checkbook, mainly because I’m a freak of nature. Also, I am young. I should write about money for other young people!”

-I meet Kelly on a money message board devoted to personal finance, on which I have been posting for over a year. I decide that she is cool.

-I learn that she is my age, also likes to write, and has in fact published her writing in the past. I decide that she is cooler than me.

-The food processor of my mind takes this information, mashes it up, and produces the following thought: Kelly and I should write personal finance articles for young people together! A little butterfly flaps his wings…

-I share my idea with Kelly. She likes it and thinks we will work well together. I decide that her coolness, much like mine, cannot be measured.

-Kelly and I write a mess of articles about finance. Because we both have a work ethic and the ability to type really fast, we soon have more material than we know what to do with (100+ pages).

-We begin submitting our work to the editors of MSN.com, which is the website with which we’re most familiar and believe we have the best shot. Excitement and New York Times Bestseller fantasies ensue.

-Weeks go by. We do not hear back from MSN.com. Happiness does not ensue.

-Kelly is a rock star and gets herself published in a local paper. Then she gets a cover article. I am simultaneously pleased for her and concentrating on keeping my jealous rage under wraps.

-Kelly uses her considerable persuasive powers (I suspect hypnosis was involved) on a mutual friend of ours from the same message board, and convinces her what a good idea it would be to have us writing a mini-financial column for her website, SparkNotes.

-Said mutual friend agrees to take a look at our work.

-Said mutual friend likes our work! She is just amazingly cool. Shows it to her editor.

-Editor likes our work! Agrees to publish a weekly advice column and a bi-monthly mini-financial column! We are officially freelance writers!

-Kelly and I do a happy dance! With multiple exclamation points! Yes, of course a happy dance can have proper punctuation!

-We run around telling our friends and family that we have a column. Happiness ensues.

-And today, holiest of all holy days, our first column is published.

Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the world premiere of…


Monday, September 15, 2008

I Am Not Pregnant, And Other Great News


-Really annoying Tom Petty song from the 90’s that made my eardrums mutiny whenever I heard it


-the Stock Market as of last night

Yes, I am sure this is probably one of the happiest days of Richard Fuld’s life, right up there with his eighth birthday (when his mom planned the amazing party with the clown that ended up murdering his three best friends) or his wedding day (when his bride-to-be ran off with the groomsman).

No, this is not a happy day for anyone with even a passing interest in the United States economy. The dollar might as well be an empty Snickers bar wrapper for all the value it holds at the moment, the federal government finally decided to put its foot down after the damage had basically been done, and AIG needs to somehow come up with a few more (40 billion) dollars which, oddly, no one is clamoring to give them.

Gotta love how this great big grizzly bear of an economy can be traced pretty much directly back to the housing crisis. As a nation, we have the money management skills of a drunk toddler in a toy store, which seems to be catching up with us at long last.

And me? I’m feeling a bit under the weather this morning. See title.

Beats the alternative though!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Some Heart Stopping Terror With Your Moonlight Swim?

As firmly as I believe that the universe should always work in accordance with what is convenient and/or pleasant for me, alas, such is not the case.

I promised an entry Wednesday which would detail my recent accomplishment. And I had every intention of following through on that promise. I wrote the self-congratulatory entry and everything. All was set to go.

Then I found out that my brilliant achievement (I should probably quit talking it up as though I cured cancer) would be delayed for a week.

This is unfortunate, but at least it’s still happening.

As nothing else in my life is currently blog-worthy, I look to an anecdote from my recent road trip with BP, a very nice guy who apparently gets his jollies from scaring me half out of my wits.

We were driving from Massachusetts to Vermont, on our way to a campsite we were hoping to reach before dark and thus avoid putting up the tent by headlight as we did the first time. (Never do that.) It was mid-afternoon, a very warm and sunny day, and it felt good to be on the road with the windows down and some quality music playing. It was like if Bambi were a road trip.

Then we drove past a quarry. The nation’s oldest quarry, to be exact.

If you’ve never been to a quarry before, they can be really gorgeous swimming spots and there are a lot of different ways you can get killed. They are basically rocks with big man-made holes that are made to remove minerals or rock for building materials.

Over time, they often fill up with water, creating a sort of marble pool.

Of course, we had to get out of the car and check this out.

Of course, it was decided that we would need to go swimming.

In a rare (you have no idea) moment of sensibility, BP and I decided to find the campsite and put up the tent before our swimming shenanigans. This was smart, because our campsite had a lot of twisty turns in it, and we would never have found it if we’d waited until nightfall. Especially with no headlights.

Then we went to the grocery store to procure supplies for our picnic dinner by said quarry.


-Bread. If you forget, manna will be provided, but it will not taste as good as fresh French bread.

-Cheese. Stinky and with spots is the way to go, according to BP. I picked out some sharp cheddar for myself. Much safer.

-Wine. We sort of skipped this one, but only because we happened to be in Vermont, which is apparently the Mecca of cheap liquor. Earlier in the day we had purchased at least $100 worth of booze, which was already in the trunk.

-Fruit. Grapes and apples are good, because they are not messy.

-Peanut butter and honey or jam.

-Hummus. The secret ingredient. Before this picnic, I had tasted hummus once or twice, and it simultaneously reminded me of mud (texture) and Kleenex (taste). Just to be sure, I added a bit of salt. Then it tasted like salty Kleenex mud. Hummus is made of mashed up garbanzo beans. Left to its own devices, it is some nasty, bland shit. If you mess with it enough, however, you get the radiant sandwich spread to which I have decided to consecrate my life.

The kind that BP picked out was “Tomato Basil Squish” (or somesuch). It looked revolting, but I agreed to try it (mainly to silence those pesky “you are the pickiest eater I’ve ever met” accusations).

It’s hard to talk about this without getting emotional. Just trust me. Once I put it on my bread, my life was never the same again. You can find it in your local grocery store—check the “Odd Things That Look Nasty But Aren’t” aisle.

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself, as we didn’t eat until after we swam. We arrived at the quarry around twilight. The heat of the day was basically gone, and though it wasn’t cold by any means, the prospect of being submerged in icy water was, shall we say, a little less inviting than it had been four hours prior.

But BP and I didn’t get to where we are in life by fretting about these things, so we set up our picnic nearby, took off our outer clothing, and stood at the quarry’s edge, contemplating deep concepts like God and Frostbite.

BP may be the more fearless eater of the two of us (similar to the way a Great Dane may be a little bigger than a Chihuahua), but in terms of sheer nerve, I am way ahead of him, as the following sequence of events clearly demonstrates.

-(Speaking of dogs), there is a little tiny white dog whose owner is standing on the bank of the quarry, fully dressed, with a smirky expression on her face that clearly connotes that she does not intend to get in the water and is completely ready to mock anyone that does. She keeps throwing a Frisbee onto the water, which her dog is supposed to chase down and retrieve (you dog owners are familiar with this game; I think they call it “catch”). Of course the dog is happy as a clam—dogs have no temperature control, so they don’t know any better. Anyway, we stand there watching this little hound make the jump-in-and-swim process look soooo easy for a few minutes.

-I decide that I am not going to be outdone by a freaking dog.

-I jump into the water.


-Cold. Cold. Coldcoldfuckcoldcoldcoldcoldcoldicycold.

-I scream for awhile.

-BP laughs. Mistake.

-I climb out of the water. Merciful heaven. The air is warm. I am not a dog. I am a person. I do not have fur. What in. God’s name. Was I thinking. People are not meant to swim. No fur. No swim. I do not have fur.

-I go right up behind BP.

-I strategically place my hands in front of me and push.

-BP falls into the water. It may or may not have been a direct result of what I did.

-BP comes up screaming. I laugh. Karma’s a bitch.

-I get back in the water. It is not quite so bad this time. We swim.

-Eventually hypothermia sets in and the temperature is very pleasant. We swim some more.

-There is a waterfall. There are big rocks. We jump off them. Again, I go first.

So as I said, I think this conclusively proves who’s got the bigger garbanzo beans, so to speak.

Anyway, while we were swimming around, BP told me about quarries. How they were made, and so forth.

Then he added, probably as revenge, the following interesting tidbit:

People die in quarries fairly regularly during construction and their bodies are left there.


“Uh, haha, so does that mean there might be some dead bodies in this quarry where we’re swimming right now?”


Whew. Thank God.

“It means there are definitely dead bodies in this quarry where we’re swimming right now.”

Some of you may remember that I don’t handle the idea of buried bodies particularly well. Plus, whether you admit it or not, you’ve read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and you remember the scene with the lake and the Inferi as well as I do.

Suddenly I felt something brush my leg.

“Uh, I think I’m going to get out now. I’m uh, getting cold. Yeah. And hungry.”

“Don’t you want to swim over to the island?” BP asked.

Malicious male. There’s a reason the first three letters of those words are the same.

Kids, this is peer pressure at its finest.

“Um, well, okay. But then I’m getting out.”

We swam. Island was pretty. All I could think about were dead bodies floating beneath me. One of the rocks had a bump covered in moss, and I thought it was a decaying finger. I nearly lost my marbles.

Did I mention that by this time it was dark?

I managed to escape from the Quarry of Death without becoming one of Them.

I brought with me a brand new shiny resolution not to do mean things to people who carry disturbing information in their heads.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Run, Forrest, Run!

I went running yesterday.

No, not from the cops and not on a dare.

I did it voluntarily. For real.

Why is this? Well, a few days ago I was on Facebook (fantastic invention, that—allows you to easily keep track of just how far behind your peers you really are), and I began chatting with an old friend of mine from high school.

Me: So what’s going on in your life?

OFOMFHS: Oh, not too much… just working and training for my marathon!

Me: …

OFOMFHS: Yeah, it’s in a couple months! I am having a lot of fun. I ran 19 miles this morning.

Me: …

OFOMFHS: You still there?

Me: Just dying a little bit inside, OFOMFHS.

OFOMFHS: Haha, why?

Me: Well, the last time I ran was a few weeks ago when I was drunk and thought I was being chased. You are much cooler than me. I am very impressed.


Me: I guess that is okay. If we’re both impressed with each other, the Circle of Life is complete.

Now, I know what some of you may be thinking as you read this little exchange. “Wow, Lady Snark is so insecure that she needs to compare herself to her OFsFHS?”

The answer is, yes. Also jealous. Don’t forget jealous.

This is the ugly side of only-child syndrome (I say that like there’s an attractive side). I like to be number one, the star, the center of attention, the winner. If someone beats me at something, I feel small inside.

And my friend being capable of running twenty six miles in a span of time shorter than, oh, fifteen years—while I am an unequivocal couch potato who used to be semi-active in various sports and now consider intense physical activity to be taking the stairs instead of the elevator to my fifth-floor apartment—definitely qualifies as beating me. Like a cheap piƱata.

Don’t get me wrong: I am happy for my friend, as well as deeply impressed. I could not run that far on a death march. It’s very cool that she can run a marathon.

But the very natural, predictable result of this discovery was as follows: Hey, I want to run a marathon!

I crack myself up. Literally. By the time I was done laughing at that one, I’d broken a rib. Me running a marathon? Maybe if they don’t consider driving to be cheating.

However, the basic idea of running for fun wasn’t so crazy. The more I thought about it, the more it sounded like a capital idea. This shows how delusional I can be in the throes of jealousy.

But nonetheless, I decided to give it a shot.

So when I got home from work yesterday, I got right down to business. I knew that if I sat down at my computer or started fixing a snack, it would be all over. The Lazy would set in again, laughing with childlike glee, and by tomorrow I’d have given up on the whole idea.

The timeline of the next half hour was as follows:

6:10 pm: Change out of suit and pull back hair. Gel causes hair to stick straight up behind headband. Looks stupid. Pause long enough to lay out work clothes neatly on couch. Don iPod, the running-girl’s best friend.

6:13 pm: Leave apartment. Wait for elevator.

6:13 pm: Elevator is taking too long. Grow impatient. Remember that I am supposed to be working out. Take stairs.

6:14 pm: Arrive in front of apartment. Contemplate how to run in an unfamiliar neighborhood (yes, I’ve lived here for two years and yes, it’s an unfamiliar neighborhood) without getting hopelessly lost. Decide to run around the block until I get tired.

6:15 pm: Begin run. Yay! This is fun! I like this downward-sloping part!

6:14 pm: Turn corner. Road begins slanting uphill. Oh.

6:18 pm: Still going strong. If by “strong” I mean “I am such a wuss, but it’s been three minutes and I have not yet given up, damn it.”

6:20 pm: Merciful heaven. The road is slanting downhill again. My, this is a big block. I wonder how far it is. Am I going to get lost?

6:21 pm: There’s my apartment! I am not lost! I decide to go around a second time.

6:21 pm: Oh dear, is that a cramp? I continue. No pain, no gain.

6:23 pm: I reach the end of the block. I am in agony. Cramp. Crampcrampcrampcramp. I contemplate walking, then tell myself I am here to RUN and to stop being such a wuss.

6:23 pm: Still running. Upward. Cramp is getting worse. Begin to ponder idea of self-flagellation.

6:23 pm: I begin walking.

6:25 pm: I have reached the corner where the downhill slope starts again. Yippee. I begin running again. My good friend Crampy is still along for the ride, but I have already decided that twice around this long, long block is more than enough for my first day out.

6:27 pm: I turn the last corner… home stretch… I am a MARATHON RUNNER… except not.

6:28 pm: Reach apartment. Hey, that was fun! Check stopwatch (another handy iPod feature). I was running for… wow… okay… a whole 12 minutes! Go me!

6:28 pm: Get in elevator. Sweat bullets. Discover that I do not enjoy sweating.

6:30 pm: Shower time!

So the whole procedure took less than twenty minutes. That was pretty painless. Except for the agonizing cramp. Those will go away once I start doing this more regularly, right?

Oh yes, my friends, I am going again tonight. And the next night. And the night after that. Why? Because, to quote someone who once sang this, it hurt so good! I felt fantastic afterward! My legs hurt and everything! My breathing took an hour to return to normal! Like I had really accomplished something! And darn it, if I only have to work out for twelve minutes a day to get that feeling, then I will part with twelve minutes a day. Imagine how I’d feel after twenty minutes.

I refuse to speculate past that point because I think thirty would more than likely kill me.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Shoo Fly, Or There Will Be Serious Consequences


Nice sound, right? Kind of like if a chain saw was a musical instrument that only played one note. Now add the weird light smacking noise that comes from an insect flopping back and forth between blinds like a Pong ball, and you’ve got yourself a regular orchestra my friend.

I don’t know what this insect was. A mosquito, possibly, or a really oddly-shaped praying mantis. A flying cockroach—look, it was big and it was loud and it was in my room last night. That is all you need to know.

I keep my apartment meticulously neat. Not on the order of Monk or anything, but I like things generally orderly and pleasing to the eye and un-smelly. I find it incredibly unfair that I still get bugs even with all my preventive measures, which do include exorcism.

But alas, bugs are a part of city life (if I recall correctly, they are also a part of suburban life, even in my mother’s surgically clean kitchen, so there’s basically no cure for this atrocious aspect of sentience). I do the traps (ick). I do the sprays. I even specially request that the person who fumigates our building come and do my room separately twice a month. I never leave food out and I put everything that could be remotely considered food inside my fridge, unless they are unopened and basically impenetrable, like soup cans.

And still I cannot escape them. So be it.

The cacophony started around 2:30 am this morning. I was awake, which is unusual even for me, but I was having a conversation with someone via text message. Before I knew it, the lovely symphony described above was all I could focus on. It started in low, then it started to grow, as Mr. Grinch would say.

I did not have my contacts in, and I was half asleep. I knew that my chances of hitting this tiny mutant were slim to none, and I was “too tired to care.” So I decided to ignore it.

Which I did, for about 30 seconds. Then I could stand no more.

How did I rectify my vision/alertness problem?

I didn’t even try to aim.

I pulled the blinds up.


Let’s just say there was a crunch and then a thud and now the problem is no more.