stories

Rock Bottom

Even though I’m now a fifth year senior and in a new relationship navigating mishaps and humiliation left and right, I’ve been neglecting proper blog documentation by watering down the amassing tragedies as being not quite tragic enough to write about yet.  And sorta because I forgot about this blog for about a year…  But mostly the watering down thing.  Mostly the watering down thing, that is, until this past weekend, when a tragedy so pathetic, so utterly lame, occurred, that I could no longer ignore my duty to the web.

If you read my last post, you already have a hint.  But, let’s be honest, you didn’t.  So buckle up.

I’ve spent a lot of time in college trying to evolve myself from a closet YouTuber to a Pro-fessional Videographer gal.  It’s taken some time for me to learn the jargon of my trade (or how to escape conversation fast enough before people find out I haven’t) and to develop my technical skills, but I’m getting there.  One of my latest duties-to-learn has been the glamorous world of location scouting, which actually sucks ass.

So, anyway.  My teammate, Alex (aka “Cobb”), and I had been in talks with a local musician for about two months to make her a music video.  Indoor locations were out because bureaucracy is the devil (hear, hear!), so we decided to find a spot in the mountains surrounding Boonetown.  The plan was to find someplace with a waterfall where we could film without any casualties.  Taking a few suggestions from Alex’s brother, we resolved first and foremost to scope out the “Bertha” of waterfalls: Trash Can Falls.  (Did that joke hit?  It’s supposed to be about having a crappy name.  Oh shoot, I should have gone for trashy!  Something like “Marguerite.”)

Starting the car to leave for the Marguerite of waterfalls went well enough, but not much else.  Due to causes entirely unrelated to our chronic irresponsibility and inadequacy as human beings, we were sort of in a rush because it was sort of the day before the shoot.  Partway there, it began to rain, plus Alex was driving like a blind animal, so we were lucky to even make it to the site alive to begin with.  After that, we got onto the trail and I was forced into keeping guard while he took a leak in the forest, also like a blind animal, which was pleasant.  Raindrops and pee were crashing down all around me, but I still felt hopeful that my dreams for the day wouldn’t.

It was a short path, but a wee bit treacherous.  The rainfall (and urine) did not help the cause, as the trail was already dominated by puddles and muck.  A little ways into the trek, Alex pointed down a steep semi-trail/semi-dropoff toward a huge rocky platform and said, “what about that?”  I looked at it for about two seconds before definitively knowing that it was not going to work.  But I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, so I tried to say it delicately.  “That is not going to happen, Alex.”  “But–” he began.  “No. We are not f***ing doing that,” I stated politely.

He laughed, probably, or got tensed up and sad (what’s the difference, am I right?!), and abandoned his post to finish the trail.  When we made it to the top, we saw a few collegiate hooligans in swimsuits, hanging around, drinking beers, and then jumping intoxicated off of a 15 foot rock face into murky construction-site-puddle-opaque waters.  For a second, I worried that I was going to have to jump off of it to impress Alex.  I had already gotten out of it the last time I visited by having mother nature pouring out of my uterus into a pad that would have exploded up with water like a giant turd in my pants if I had jumped in.  But this time, there was no such pad.  Every piece of me was saying, “I don’t want to do this,” but, if he was bold enough to do it, I had appearances and my own pride to keep up with, and I was going to have to do it.  He watched them and, to my surprise declared, “that is a horrible idea.”  This meant a) that I was off the hook, and b) that I would have to prove myself in some other way.

We spent a few minutes watching our intoxicated peers climb up the rock, say they didn’t want to do it, and then get peer pressured into doing it by their friends, and somehow not die.  (That’s the thing–at some of these waterfalls, people actually have died.  They really have.  And yet…here we all were.)  I decided I’d get my pride by jumping off of a diving board into a big pool or something later.  It felt great to know that I would never put myself in a situation like that, willingly jumping into a murky waterfall pool in the mountains.  In a lot of ways, I was superior to all of them for being so wise.

Turning back, Alex motioned toward the initial spot once again.  I still knew it was a terrible idea, but since our first scout had been an utter failure up to this point, and because I needed to redeem myself for being a total wiener for being too scared to jump off of Trash Can Falls, I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and explore it.

Phone at the ready to snap some pictures of the spot, professionalism was coursing through my veins.  We climbed down some treacherous tree roots and rocks before we came to a clearing of sorts–a plain, gently sloped, gigantic rock face bordering the stream.  The hardest of the trail was behind us.  Eager to impress and show off my adventurousness, I took the lead and crossed down toward the –WHOOP.

Shit!  Damn it!  Arms flailing, I searched for something to hold on to.  There’s nothing to hold onto!  Ahh!!  I thought.  Then, for the 14th time or so in the past two years that I’ve wondered it, I wondered if I was about to die.  Am I about to die?  This is so embarrassing.  Aaaand yep, that’s the edge.  Wellp, guess this is the–

CLUNK-SPLASH.

And that’s when I hit it.  Rock bottom.  (…How’d that one land?  Eh, a literal rock bottom? Hey-oh!)  (No, but actually, I fell into a gorge.)

ravine

Photo used without permission from Thomas Fore. Edited by Alex Cobb.  [Circle: me, rectangle: phone.]

There were no alligators.  There were no deep river rapids.  I had landed in a shallow section of water less than a foot deep full of rocks, and at its most treacherous, litter and algae.  My bones were not broken, which kinda pissed me off.  I had literally just fallen into a ravine.  I deserved some battle wounds besides a bump on my shin and 5 scratches on my knee.  How else was I supposed to make people give me attention?  Boobs?  I’m too ashamed of my body!  But anyway, despite the intact bones, it actually did hurt and I was a little shaken.  But I still stood back up, much like a firefighter who rises from a pile of rubble after a building collapses around her, and gathered my bearings.  I looked up to Alex, expecting him to ask if I was okay.  “Where’s your phone?!” he yelled.  Dammit, Cobb.

There’s a saying about how what goes up must come down (haven’t heard of it? oh, I’m not surprised, oh ho ho *adjusts glasses pretentiously*), and the terrible truth of that is that if you say the phrase backwards you get to the point that I had fallen down and was going to have to climb back up.  And so, with reluctant nerves, I took off my $5 traction-less cheetah print shoes (a professional location scout staple), threw them back up to Alex, and began my return climb, amidst opposition.

I imagine that I looked something like Bear Grylls accomplishing another great feat of survival, but if I didn’t, I don’t want to know.

When I made it back out, I was feeling pretty happy about being alive.  But once that wore off I was able to go back to my normal hateful self and look at the world with eyes full of darkness because, of all of the things I thought would mess up the scout, slipping down a rock face into a river because I was wearing bad shoes while it was raining and I was on a mossy rock wasn’t one of them.  It was totally unexpected.

My iPhone was lost in the accident.  The location scout was a failure.  I was no longer superior to the trash can jumpers.  I had dirt in my butt.

But at least I had proved myself.

I felt a little better because when we got back to the car, Alex realized that he had forgotten to turn it off and left it running the whole time.  Again.  He laid out a cardboard slab for me to sit on, enjoying it all way too much, and we began our return journey.  I confided in him that the only thing that would make it better was making a funny Facebook status about it.

The status was an abysmal failure, bringing in less than a third of the likes of my post prior about shrimp with lobster sauce.

So here we are.  The blog.  Y’all thought you could get away with not caring.  I will not go without my honor, and a second chance at garnering sympathy and attention.  The writer in me is back, and she is ready to tell her story.  Even when you don’t want to hear it…

One day, I’ll return my cheetah print shoes to Target and use the $5 to boost my post, so that you HAVE to see it!  Then you’ll see!  Then you’ll all see!  And scroll by!  And I will be out of $5 and a nice pair of shoes!  Even though they’re hard to match to clothing anyway!  But, I digress.  The point is:  I’m back.  Stick around, sweet readers.

P.S.  Shoutout to Alex Cobb, for a temporary replacement phone, and to Mr. Darius Hillard, for always encouraging me to keep up the plight with this blog.

 

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In Which the Blog Descends Further into Being Terrible: Holidays with the Humbugs

My Readers,

Let it be known that four eggs, sour milk, some old lunch meat, moldy bread, and cheese actually makes for a balanced enough breakfast.  Did I spend more time on the toilet than usual?  Maybe.  But did I get food poisoning?  No.  I don’t think so at least.  And that’s what matters.

(How about that intro?  Am I not charming af?  Thank you, thank you.)  (I know almost all of you are visual people; I am not sure why I keep doing this.)

So, before I kick-start into whatever the fluff today’s post turns out to be, I wanted to say…thanks, y’all.  Thanks for having my back last week when I took my emotional breakdown to the webs.  Lol.  But seriously, wow, what an unanticipated, heartwarming response.  Also, I finally followed some of my own advice, and went and started sayin’ some things to people I should have.  Mixed results.  A few very special emails that warranted screenshots for my “Sweet Things” folder in my documents, (–in conjunction with “Sweet Memes,” these two folders serve as Grade A cyber picker-uppers when I’m feeling down), including one “I felt the same & I was avoiding it too,” a few kind musings from acquaintances and near-strangers that left me feeling rejuvenated, and a few reminders about which cans of beans to leave undisturbed.

 

ANYWAY, the point is…it wasn’t a bad thing at all.  Last week’s post.  I’m glad I shared it.  It made me act, and, more importantly…you guys were really sweet, and I dunno, it made me feel cared about.  I won’t even dodge around it; I really needed to feel cared about.  So, hey…thanks for that.  Thanks for helpin’ a homie out.

A’right so I know what you are thinking: I AM UNCOMFORTABLE SHUT UP and get to the content.  I agree.  On to the content.

EXCEPT THERE IS NO CONTENT TODAY

THIS BLOG IS A SHAM

I AM A SHAM

No, but really, I am going to try to keep the façade of knowing how to write a decent blog up for a while yet.  You may be thinking, “silly Melanie, there are no rules when it comes to writing a blog,” but you’re wrong.  You are dead wrong.  This is more than my playground, it is, as with all things that I take way too seriously, a platform for legacy.

Which brings me to today’s topic: The Holidays with Humbugs.

I love holidays.  I think they are awesome.  If it were morally sound, I would bounce from religion to religion just to be able to partake in all of their festivities.  Maybe it is just because I was a born heathen, but there is something about decorated trees and warm artificial strands of lights and exchanging gifts that just RESONATES WITH MY SOUL MORE THAN THE PROMISE OF ETERNAL LIFE EVER COULD.  (No, but side note: eternal life?   Like, this crap just keeps going?  I oft think I would rather disintegrate.)  But anyway, big picture: I love the holidays.  And Christmas is my favorite.

It follows that I love celebrating Christmas.  And I do so with my family.  But here’s the problem.  In holiday cheer at home, I Stand Alone.

My mom, as you might’ve guessed if you read my post on The Too Far Gene, instilled in me from a young age an overzealous passion for holiday decorating.  I’m talkin’, inhumane amounts of fake pumpkin decorations for Halloween, window decals and beanie babies for Valentine’s day, and this big, weird, sparkly, turkey statue thing for Thanksgiving.  But as the years have gone by, her patience and zest for such affairs has waned.  Roughly the same goes for Dad.  And then Billy (my brother), well Lord, Billy will look for any excuse not to help me take things out of the attic, so he’s not on board anymore either.  Pretty much the peak of their holiday spirit nowadays comes in haunting me with this big freaky grim reaper Santa decoration that I hate every year.  Here is a pic; these are real things they do to me.

Fear the reaper

They added the knife.  This pic came two years ago with the caption “Fear the reaper.”  Sans cutlery, is that not one of the worst Santa decorations you have ever seen?  The trim on the coat–the CLOAK–looks like it was coated in the ash of the corpses of dozens of elves.  I hate him.  One year he fell over and his porcelain head cracked and it was one of the happiest times.  Unfortunately my mom mended him and he lives on.

Anyway, so this year, over Thanksgiving break, I allotted myself time to retrieve boxes from the attic and get out the tree and kickstart the process early.  I started by coercing my brother into helping and then had to listen to him complain for like 200 hours about having to catch the boxes I was lowering to him, even though as the lowerer I was the one assailing the future of my lower back, then filled a good chunk of my room up with them.  That way, beyond providing for myself a sound starting point, the family would have easy access to the spoils and would be able to finish decorating when I headed back up to school.

Another thing–I love surprises.  Oh, by gosh, are they fun.  And I like to do nice things in secret for a grand reveal because, I don’t know, the surprise element just makes it better.  (Plus I am also weary of someone being like “ugh, really?” and raining on my parade.  Secret operations are often necessary when you want to do anything remotely messy in this house.)  (I used to rearrange my room in secret when I was little for this reason, and one time I almost got crushed to death by a 45 pound TV as a result lol.)  But yeah, this year in particular, I was feeling very covert ops.  I was on a mission to decorate quietly in the room adjacent to my mom in an all-new spot we hadn’t used for Christmas, like, ever, without peaking her attention before it was ready.  That way when she and the rest of the lot saw it, they would all be pleasantly surprised and impressed and filled with Christmas cheer.

So after cleaning our dining room, which took TIME because it had looked like a foreclosed Goodwill, I started with the tree–one of those fake plastic ones, which was a pain in the arse because we broke the stand on the bottom last year.  (It was basically a four-tier bottom and one of the tiers cracked.)  I figured it would be okay if I leaned the tree up against the wall and I didn’t tell anybody because that’s what I did last year when I broke it, so I did, and as it held and I was finding it harder and harder to contain my excitement, I told my mom to come and look while I got the ornaments out.  But apparently that wasn’t the answer because then when I was in the other room I heard a yell and a small crash because apparently my mom had tried to meddle with the tree skirt or something and the wall fix didn’t hold so the whole thing came toppling down on top of her (classic) and then she got all dramatic and said we had to get rid of it just because it had almost crushed her and was a hazard or whatever.

Instinctually, my reaction was one which predisposed me toward a moment of immature, lose-my-cool temper tantrum.  I had worked really hard to do something nice, and then she went and injured herself with it.  I mean, I want to see my mother get crushed by a tree as much as the next guy, but nobody wants to deal with the repercussions.  And since I was on a tight time budget to go back up to school that night, it was a major setback.  [Side note: Billy just came in here and started freestyling to the tune of Blurred Lines about how my blog sucks then put an ornament of Godzilla riding a motorcycle on my butt.]  I guess I could have been more concerned about her well-being, but you know how it goes.  We are more laugh-at-each-others-pain in this family.  There was no blood.  I regret nothing.

Anyway, so then something monumental happened: she said we’d have to get a new tree.  Let me explain the significance.  Needing a new one meant that we might be able to get a Real Christmas Tree this year.  We almost never got real trees.  In my parents defense, this is largely in part to a time in their younger years when they got a live Christmas tree together unbeknownst to the fact that it had a nest of praying mantises hidden inside and their entire home was infested, and then they had to vacuum them because they were an endangered species and technically you were not supposed to kill them.  Sort of like that time later in life when we were raising ladybugs in a net terrarium and they broke free and died all over the house or the time 100+ bats were living inside of our chimney.  But I digress.  My hope was soon quelled as I understood that we would almost definitely be getting another fake one.

I resolved to stay the night in order to be able to help decorate the replacement tree after it was obtained the next day.  When the actual decorating was finally complete, it looked pretty good.  And it only took minimal begging and trickery to get my family members to each hang at least one ornament each so I could pretend we were a functional family that hangs out with each other sometimes out of more than obligation.  I was content.  Then I laid the stockings out by the fireplace and left the plugs for the lights I’d put up by outlets so that the family could hang them and light them up, respectively, easily after I left.  Of course, when I got home after a MONTH the entire outside of the house was still pitch black, the stockings were in the same place I had left them, and all of the lights I had put up were collecting dust.  And they all continued to refuse to help finish decorating because “well now it’s only five days away” but still have the audacity to sit around and complain that “it doesn’t feel like Christmas” WELL DUH MAYBE BECAUSE THE ONLY THING Y’ALL DID TO PREPARE FOR IT WAS TURN THE NUMBER ON THE CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN BLOCKS (which, I will admit, I was pleasantly surprised by) (unless they only turned it once right before I got home to keep up appearances).

What am I getting at, here?  I don’t know exactly.  This is another in a series of posts where there were rails set for a hint of a narrative and then the train drove off the side of the mountain instead, taking hundreds of lives with it as it went.

I guess I’m saying that I know how it feels to care passionately about things and still get very excited about them even when everyone around you is apathetic.  It is one of my biggest skills other than remembering to brush my teeth more than once daily.  And I think that in a society driven by all of that mess, ruled by complacency, by laziness, by waiting for death, it’s an important skill to hold on to.  Am I also guilty of being complacent, lazy, and waiting for death?  Yes!  Sometimes I think that being alive is just the most grueling, cumbersome thing in the world.  But that is never going to stop me from rejoicing in the little things and working my ass off to make other people remember that they can enjoy those things too.  So I will continue to carry the weight of the holidays on my shoulders even if it means forcing my family at gunpoint to watch the ball drop on New Year’s with me or crushing my own mother with a booby-trapped Christmas tree.  I know they still care somewhere deep down underneath layers of “you’re cleaning that.”

The moral of the story, then: even when it feels like you’re the only one who cares, don’t let the man get you down.  And remember the reasons why a humbug’s acting like a humbug.  A lot of times it just comes from other problems in life and our good ol’ friend, sorrow.  I know that I sound kind of like a Lifetime movie, but hear me out: you have every right to be enthusiastic, and if you’re enthusiastic enough, sometimes it can rub off on other people so much that they start being enthusiastic too, or at least get so irritated with you that they concede to your wants anyway.  And also, keep your eyes peeled for times you’re looking at a situation with tunnel-vision.  Consider here how I completely ignored my mom’s going out of her way to get us nice gifts.  She might rather die than string up a set of lights nowadays, but she still cares.  That old enthusiasm’s still buried in there somewhere.  It’s just a matter of digging it up.  How much validity is in these words?  What gives me a right to say this?  Idk!  Who cares.  This is something I live by that gets me through and makes me happy.

Oh, and before we come to an end, it is time for a grand ol’ interactive feature…SHOUTOUTZ!  How tragic.  Some by request, some unanticipated sneak attacks after last week’s post.  To my awko-taco old friend for the heartwarming text, to my internet pun-master compadre for the continuous support, to my sweet child for making me feel like my blog doesn’t suck, and to a new true pal who might not keep reading but might for sticking around before and maybe continuing to do so: thank you.  Thank you all for being interesting, and for being here.  Idk why you came back, but I’m glad ya did.

Also.  All of you–I want to see your blogs.  ASAP.  Let me explore your brains too.  I was a born parasite, grant me the amnesty of invasion.

And there you have it: half a narrative and some other dumb crap.  My blog is getting worse and worse by the day.  Tune in below for some unrelated but still enjoyable additional media that has no business being here that I put here anyway.

Merry Christmas and/or happy holidays, my dears,

Melanie

 

Unrelated but Still Enjoyable Additional Media that Has No Business Being Here:

Musical Throwback Recommendation of the day:  (Will this be a thing from now on?  Maybe.  Probably not.)  (I guess this really could have been like my favorite Christmas song or something, but it is too late to turn back and edit this post in a fragment of a second now.)

HAHA Actually no.  Meme of the Day:

by Daedra Edwards Linn

Two because of Christmas.

Derek Karnes

Courtesy of Daedra Edwards Linn and Derek Karnes, respectively and without permission, via Useless, Unsuccessful, and/or Unpopular Memes on Facebook, my new favorite place on the internet.

I love Memes.

Hope to see you all again soon.

ISO: Filter

Hey all!  Welcome to post seven.  This entry is probably going to be a little more sporadic than usual because I had other intentions for what I wanted to share today that didn’t play out, so I scraped this one together last-minute.  (The other thing will have to wait until next week…stay tuned.)

Tonights episode is more a scene than an actual episode in its entirety.  However, it plays an important role in a much larger story regarding the horrors of the pursuit of Collegiate Romantic Interest #2, so I have decided to give it its very own hayday.

(Oh, P.S., to ensure title comprehension, “ISO” in this context means “in search of.”  Excellent.  Let’s move on.)

I have always been a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Or rather, not being aware of my surroundings and doing something stupid in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Or really, just generally, regardless of place and time, being stupid and wrong.  Todays story revolves around one of these incidents, in the context of what will soon be a recurring theme in these stories: failed courtship.

Now, it was a common thing during the course of my infatuation with Collegiate Romantic Interest #2 that I would be somewhere on campus, talking about him with one of my friends, and he would walk in the door or pop around the corner or vaporize through a wall and suddenly be there.  I took this at the time to be a message from the gods, the divine–an act of fate (and also hypothesized that maybe he was a supernatural being of some sorts, which ensured that I really needed to capitalize on this crush because even if he was one of the lame kind of supernatural beings like a True Blood vampire or something, it would still be really awesome) (unless he turned on me or was actually just hunting from the get-go) (although really, even if it worked out I would either have to get super old while he stayed young or turn into a vampire and just be alive for sooo long, like never get to die or take a nap again, talk about exhausting); but now I realize that it was a warning.  And even though I knew, even then, that it was risky to conduct private conversations about him in public, for whatever reasons–ignorance, earnestness, the thrill, a chance TO FEEL ALIVE–I continued my behavior.

So I was with my friend in our school’s Student Union, which basically is the hub of student activity on campus.  I’m pretty sure these two events occurred on the same day, so let me paraphrase, very briefly, the conversation that had ensued earlier that day.  It was something to the effect of this:

       (In class)

       CRI2: Look at this lol!

       Me: Omg lol how funnie is that!

       Evil Spawn of Satan:  Ummm look, I’m a terrible human being so I’m going to be super blunt and embarrass you in front of everyone. Do you, like, like each other?

       (at the same time)

       Me:  Yes   CRI2:  No

       Me:  

       Me:  I have to go to the bathroom.

(End scene)

Yes, friends, the dialogue has been altered for safety reasons, but the message is the same.  It. was. terrible.

And the solution?  To talk to said friend about it in the Student Union.  Outside of a popular eatery.  I mean, by Harry Potter logic, it makes sense.  Hide something in plain sight, right?  If you need to discuss the coordinates of a horcrux, do it in the Butterbeer place in Hogsmead or whatever.  Because it’s busy, it will drown out the conversation.  By all strains of logic, it should have worked, except that it wasn’t busy in the student union that day, and that the logic was stupid for me anyway, because I wasn’t a witch going against a super-wizard apocalyptic villain, so no one was going to be spying on me if I tried to discuss my crippled love life in private in the first place.  The point is: it was a terrible decision, and a terrible location.  And though moderately populated, it was only populated with patrons who were respectful and never rose above using their indoor voices.  Nerds.

So we sat, and I mourned.  I don’t remember what I said to my friend exactly; I just remember that it was bad.  I may have even uttered such sickeningly vulnerable things as “I thought he was the one,” or “I’m heartbroken,” or “I’m going to find that girls family and brutally murder them all.”  The details are hazy, but clear enough for me to remember that it was a horrendously dramatic and thorough outpouring of emotions.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that when I saw my friend’s eyes widen and drift to the upper right, then turned around to see Collegiate Romantic Interest #2 standing in the doorway, I almost went into cardiac arrest.

I didn’t know how much he had heard, nor what its implications might be; I only knew that I wanted to kill myself.  So, I turned around and ran down the hallway screaming, “NO! I’M GONNA KILL MYSELF!!”

Turned down a hallway littered with Suicide Prevention Awareness posters screaming “I’M GONNA KILL MYSELF.”

Yes, friends, not only had I reacted like a 12-year-old cartoon character, but I also had screamed a phrase deemed offensive by an entire organization that seeks to help people, in the organizations homeland.  The guilt was palpable.

In the end, I learned that College Romantic Interest #2 had only been passing through to the staircase, and likely had not heard much, if anything (though I still don’t know if he heard the screaming), so my outburst was for naught.  I also learned what it’s like to get dirty/appalled looks from innocent bystanders (f ’em all, YOU DON’T KNOW ME).  In that part of the student union, anyway.  Everything passed, and the extent of my feelings was kept a secret, and I was able to walk away from that particular part of the student union pretty much unscathed, and totally relieved.

The moral of the story: remember where you are before you run screaming down a hallway.  Also, not everyone makes jokes about death with such ease and disregard for human decency, so maybe start working on establishing a filter.

Anyway, brother has been waiting on me to take him to Wal-Mart, so I must take my leave.  Let me just go over my conclusion…  Alright, no attempt to apologize for belittling real problems, loose tie-back to filters, and no closing joke.  Seems about right.

As always, thanks a ton for reading, and I’ll see you next Thursday, amigos!!

Your amigo, I hope,

Melanie

~Peace out~

The First Party

Greetings once again my sweet readers!  Wow, can you believe we are already on the fourth entry?  Some of you have come to your senses and realized that I’m a moron and left, but others have stuck along for the ride, or maybe even are getting on this super lame train of pathetic life stories late, and either way: I welcome you.

For those of you who were around for last week’s post, you know that I just turned 21.  Yeah!  Alcohol!  Drugs!  Anal sex!  Are those things 21 year olds do?  I wouldn’t know!  Inside of this fine-ass cellulite-laden body I am still a toddler.  But anyway, I tried alcohol for the first time, and before I continue, I just want to know who exactly got this whole thing started.  Okay, so I get that eventually you get a buzz (personally I just got the symptoms of a pancreas attack) (am I an 80 year old woman? maybe), but who in the hell tried this crap, thought “ah yes, my intestines are burning and my throat feels like I just poured motor oil down it,” and thought it was a good idea to keep going?  I would like to experience being drunk, but not at this cost.  The shots I had were one of the worst things I have ever tasted in my life, and I once accidentally brushed my teeth with diaper rash ointment.  It’s not even like candy where it’s bad for you but it tastes delicious.  Tequila tastes like poison.  I can’t go through that again.  I just wish I could bypass my taste buds and inject it directly into my bloodstream.  That’s one thing heroin addicts got right.  ANYWAY, all of that being said, I will probably do it again.

My experiences with finally drinking alcohol made me reflect back on a past of making up lame excuses not to, sipping on Hi-C while my close friends became alcoholics, and resisting peer pressure from my parents.  (Because I know the question will inevitably come up, I waited to drink until I was 21, most basically, because I wanted to prove to myself that I could.  Blah blah it’s very important to me that wherever I go, I don’t compromise who I am just because other people want me to blah blah.  Pretty much just a self-control exercise for 21 years, it’s ok not to understand, my friends didn’t get it either.)  So, one of the first things that came to mind as I took that first drink, after “EWW,” was, “wow, parties will be easier now.”  I would be able to blend in better, and to appear to like the same things as my peers; I wouldn’t walk into the room with a social handicap.  I wouldn’t panic or rely on old tactics.  I had set myself free.  I’d only ever re-live incidents like those at my first party one more time–in this blog post.

And so it begins: the story of my first party.

Now, I’m not really a partier, but I never thought of myself as completely socially inept.  Until my first party.  You know those moments in your life where everything is going good, and you just feel on-top-of-the-world and confident?  Where you feel like you’re finally becoming the person you always wanted to be?  That’s how I was feeling.  Until my first party.

Set the scene: ambiguous break, sophomore year of college.  My friend was going to the beach to visit some of her friends, most of whom I’d never met and those of whom I had, didn’t know well.  She invited me to go too, and, under normal circumstances, having already been all over the tri-state area in the past week, and not knowing her friends, and not liking parties, I would have said no.  But, as legend has it, a cute boy I had recently met was in the cards, and so, even though I wouldn’t even admit it to myself at the time, even though he could not have given two dead rat feet about me, even though I “was not crazy,” I went for him.

I don’t remember the order of the events leading up to the party very well, so we’ll just cut right to it.  Evening.  We were in a 4/5/6/7/8 (details, again, hazy) person apartment of all boys.  The alcohol had been supplied and the attendees were on their way.  This wasn’t a really big party.  It was probably less than 20 people, but there was music, and there was alcohol, and it was ratchet.  I remember that a number of the individuals there had begun to pre-game.  Dreading the inevitable pressuring and guilt tripping that had always accompanied my aversion to alcohol, I knew that I would have to act fast.  Over the years, I had developed a number of avoidance tactics.  Except, they weren’t really tactics.  It was more of one single tactic, and that tactic was to do the first thing that came into my head instinctively and without question.  (Advice: this has a 10% success rate.  Avoid at all costs.)

So, back to the story.  I fared well through the pre-gaming, asking questions and maybe making one half of a person’s arm laugh, but I couldn’t stop myself from wanting to escape.  Almost all of the guests were there, and as the pressure gradually rose, I gradually shifted down on the couch.  If I had known more people, or if Cute Boy was more attainable, maybe it would have been different, but at that point in time, all I could think about was how I was like one of those Animorphs shifting back into cripplingly shy and scaredy-cat me from childhood.  But I wanted to fight it.  So, I thought, I’ll just act drunk.  I’ll pretend I’ve been drinking.  I’m a bit off my rocker (or should I say, off my…walker) (ha-ha I’m 80) anyway, so I wouldn’t even have to try that hard.  My sober could pass for intoxicated.  Just be cool, Melanie!  Just relax!  But my body betrayed me.  I continued to scoot down on that sofa until I was almost perfectly horizontal.  I could have gotten up and gone to the bathroom.  I could have pretended that I was getting a very important phone call and gone into the hallway.  I could have, I don’t know, tried to talk to another human being.  But no.  Instead of doing any of those things, I laid down on a couch in the living room, the center of the party, and feigned sleep.

After I had closed my eyes and established myself, I thought that maybe I could actually fall asleep.  I was really tired, and that might be a little bit less pathetic.  But my ears were alert, and my body drenched in self-loathing, and everyone knows that it’s hard to sleep when your mind is full and your stomach is empty and with alert ears and being drenched self-loathing.  (There is a reference to some childhood story in there that probably no one will understand but I’m leaving it.)  I waited for the standard “is she sleeping?” you always listen for when you’re pretending to be asleep that makes you tense up and put on your best fake sleep-breathing for a few seconds until you can determine whether the questioner believes you or not.  It came.  They believed.  The party carried on.

Anyway, so I’m lying there, motionless, running through all of the things I could have done other than faking sleep, thinking about all the things I could be saying in the conversation next to me had I not trapped myself in this lie, and really questioning why I couldn’t have just been awkward sitting upright, when I start hearing these noises around me–a little pop, some tiny whooshes, more pops, some shuffling.  A small hollow ball hitting the ground.  A small hollow ball hitting the ground?  And that’s when I realized, they were playing ping-pong over me.  I wasn’t just the kid who had pretended to be asleep to get out of socializing at a party, I was the one who pretended to fall asleep and then got used as a ping-pong ball net.  I had never felt like more of a loser in my life (that’s definitely not true, as future tales will reveal…but this was about a 6.7 on the Richter-Lameass scale).  It was at that point that I realized that this was much less of an alcohol issue, and much more of an I’m-an-idiot issue.

After that, in one of the first not-ridiculous moves of the evening, I used the noises from the ping-pong antics as an excuse to wake up.  I decided to have a better attitude.  So, I talked to some people.  I was feeling a little better.  There was one girl who was quite friendly, so I just tried to focus on socializing with her and this one other dude.  Then she tried to make out with him, so I tried not to focus on them at all.  My friend was dancing with another girl in the corner, and they called me over, so I took the escape.  I am an awful dancer, but I do love to try.  We all tried to shake our hips properly and it was a disaster.  The girl from earlier had joined us, whose pants were now so low in the front that her downstairs lady hair was showing.  I remember seeing it and thinking, “oh no,” and then trying to decide if one of us should tell her or not.  We didn’t.

I think at this point I returned to my sofa.  The tides were turning–apparently a different cute guy had noticed me.  My friend said that he had been asking about me.  “She’s pretty cute, but…is she okay?”  Yes, that is me.  The equivalent of the person you see with a great profile in the cafeteria then they turn head-on and there is a third eyeball in their face and like four teeth coming out of it and a prematurely receding hairline.  I guess my attempts to blend were not as successful as I thought.  After that, we had our first pass-outer.  I was feeling a lot less scared now, just focused on understanding the conventions of the American youth, plus I was friends with pass-outer, so I volunteered to help.  I walked into the bathroom and saw what looked like a giant inebriated fetus/chipmunk hybrid lying on the floor.  He was mumbling and looked about as pathetic as I did on the couch.  We had to take him to the other room for some reason, so we tried to lift him, but he was starting to throw up, so he leapt from our hands and waddled away and his pants fell around his ankles and he just waddled right out of them the rest of the way down the hallway and threw up.

So by then, the party was almost over, but also not over at all.  I kept trying to remind myself that this is what fun is supposed to be.  The penguin waddle, the body hair, the random people trying to kiss each other left and right.  I finally understood that people inebriate themselves at these things not for recreation or sport, but out of necessity.  After a series of text messages, I finally convinced original Cute Boy #1 to pick me up and save me.  I thought of it as an escape, but it ended up really just being a new way for me to end the evening making myself look like a complete imbecile.  Out of the frying pan and into the ice-cold ocean, naked.  As in, I met new people I knew even less, and he wanted to skinny-dip.  Oh, and even so, he was definitely not on the same page as me in terms of I-like-you-ness.  That is another story though, so I will leave it for another day.  All I will say is that after the embarrassment of that, the return to the party was almost a relief.

My experience at my first party taught me that parties are weird, that I don’t know how to be a youth, and really made me question why I have not yet been medicated.  I’d currently still rather go swimming (not naked) or roller skating than to a party, but maybe my journey into alcoholism will give me a new perspective.  Who knows?  The future awaits.

Anyhow, I am amazed if you’ve made it this far, and want to say thank you, thank you, thank you again for reading.  I hope you’ve enjoyed tonight’s posting enough to stop by next Thursday for another tale of embarrassment, pity, or just plain tragedy.  You are all awesome for being here.  Stay beautiful, friends.

Melanie

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20th Birthday Flashback

In lieu of last week’s novel, I’ll keep this short.  I’m turning 21 tomorrow (woohoo!), so I thought before I did I’d reflect on last year’s 20th.

It was a pretty good birthday!  I went rafting on the lake with some friends.  The raft was too small so it kept sinking and flooding and only one other friend would fit, so the other two left and went to Salsarita’s, but it was still fun.  I love a good adventure.  After that my family took me to O’Charley’s for Free Pie Wednesday, and they kept joking that the pie was my birthday cake because they forgot to get me one and it was really funny.  Then we got home and I was like, awww yeah, where is it?  Family knows I love surprises so they hid my cake.  And then my parents told me it was never a joke and that they really did forget, so I was all “WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME” in hopes that maybe they would feel bad and fill the hole in my heart by making me one, but they thought I was being overdramatic and went upstairs to watch a movie.

So then, even though it was petty and stupid (they did lots of other nice things for me earlier), I went into a miniature no cake-induced existential crisis over no one in the world caring about me and full-fledged moped.  And this went on for about two hours, as I watched…The King of Queens, I think it was, imaging my future birthdays with my UPS husband forgetting my birthday then taking me to Free Pie Wednesday instead, or maybe even getting me a McDonald’s apple turnover for our anniversary, and poor me whittling away to dust because even though the worst problem in my life was not having a cake, it was enough to kill me.  Pity party was in full-swing.  I had almost accepted that my 20th birthday would end in some kind of an important life lesson about appreciating what you have and not what you don’t–ie. a cake–but then, at like 11 at night, I had this big emotional moment where I bolted up and was like “you know what? Even if they don’t love me, I love me,” and resolved to make my own.

Tried to make my own.

After it finally made it out of the oven, this is what it looked like:

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Tasted as bad as it looks, still don’t know what went wrong, 2 follow-up cakes yielded additional unsuccessful results.

And thus, I learned that there are some things worse than Free Pie Wednesday.

Happy birthdays whenever they may be, skillets,

Melanie

How I Lost Credibility as a Dogsitter

My beloved readers,

I know that it is only post two, but it has always been my habit to either sprint as fast as a cheetah (a disabled cheetah) (with its legs tied up) (…and dead) (edit: as fast as a cheetah in theory) away from my feelings or dive headfirst into them so much so that the other person turns into a cheetah.  So while you may be taken aback by my already addressing you as beloved, know that I could not help it.  Because last week, something startling and altogether wonderful happened: people read this.  Like…more than three of you!  Both unruly youths and, thanks to my pop, the middle-aged–a demographic I was born to grow into.  It was truly delightful.  And it touched me, in a very overdramatic way, so I had no choice but to whip out the ultimate endearing adjective as early as post two.  But let us begin.

We are gathered here today to reflect upon an incident whose one year anniversary passed just a few days ago.  It was summer.  I was 19 years old, brimming with youth and naivety, and on the lookout for any way to get out of getting a real job.  So when a family friend offered me the opportunity to watch her dog for two weeks, I pounced on it.  The duties were simple enough: walk him, feed him, take him outside to crap.  Why was this job taken by me and not a 10 year old?  That’s not important.  I loved the lady, I’d watched her dog before, and I was thrilled to be doing it again.

The family had just moved into a new house, so before they set off for Mexico, the mom showed me around the new place.  She loved her dog, Boston, with all of her heart, so her priorities went beyond the basics of dogsitting and housecare.  She just wanted me to spend as much time with him as possible.  So she gave me all the deats.  She showed me how to work the cable, said I could record shows, and even told me I could bring a friend over and spend the night.  She was like a second mother to me, except we weren’t as close and she was less perverse than my real mom.  Anyhow, there was a hammock in the back and Reese’s Cups in a bowl on the counter, and it was something of a paradise.

I settled into my new role quickly.  Almost alarmingly quickly.  I would be a good identity theft.  I went there multiple times a day to take care of Boston, taking him on long walks, bagging his crap, and scratching his neck until my arm was tired.  I pampered that dog.  But I also pampered myself.  I watched the Food Network many a times in that home on a couch that had instantly become my favorite.  Boston was the best to talk to during my watching sprees.  I’d ask him what he thought about Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and when I looked into his eyes, I swear I saw nothing, but sometimes that is the best thing you can ask for in a companion.  I sang a lot too, practicing horrendous renditions of songs from Grease, but Boston never told me to shut up.  Partially because he wasn’t actually physically capable of doing so, but more so because we were homies.  Every now and then my friend Nicole came over too, and we’d hang out with Boston outside; her standing in the yard, me hogging the hammock, and Boston neglected in the corner.  We deemed it our vacation home, and between that hammock and those Reese’s Cups, I was living the dream.

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Now, there was also a neighbor who’d drop by named Jean or something.  I can’t remember if that was her name.  Also if it was, I should probably protect it, so we’ll call her Bean.  Anyway, Bean was going through a hard time, so seeing Boston cheered her up and kept her busy.  She fed him in the morning and sometimes at night even though I was supposed to, but she always left a note, so it wasn’t a big deal.  I think we were both giving him treats too but I’m not sure how many.  Needless to say, Boston was eating good!  Ha-ha-ha!  He threw up once or twice by the fireplace but I cleaned it up no harm no foul.  Or so.  I thought.

Anyway, things with dogsitting Boston were going splendidly.  I was getting a lot of exercise from walking him, all the extra vitamin D had improved my disposition, and the house was in tip-top shape.  I’d been keeping up with watering the plants, bringing in the mail, and locking up.  The only questionable thing that I’d done was some damage to the Reese’s supply.  But other than that, I was really proud of myself.  Two weeks had passed right on by, and I had only a morning and an afternoon left.  What could possibly fall apart in an afternoon?  The answer is everything, my friends.  Everything.

I remember that day like you remember accidentally finding a bee in your soda (also happened to me, age 12).  I walked into the house and let Boston out.  This was my last visit before the family came home.  I straightened up the things on the table, watered the plants one last time, and then did my usual daily house check to make sure that Boston hadn’t pooped or peed anywhere.

And that is when I found it.

I went upstairs and looked into the bonus room.  Remember how cute it was that Boston was eating well?  Well, as it turns out, he was not eating well.  He was eating something very unwell.  Because there were orange stains everywhere.  Like, Six.  Orange.  Stains.  Vomit stains.  Oh no…  And why were they stains?  Oh no!!  Because he ate it again.  How did he even eat this much?!  I kept thinking to myself.  And that’s when I realized.  The bastard hadn’t eaten that much.  He just threw what he did eat up, and then he ate it back up, and then the fricking meatloaf moved to a new spot where he threw that up again.  SIX TIMES.  But ohh, no no no, that’s not all.  I guess being sick enough to puke everywhere was not enough to curb Boston’s appetite.  Because he did not just eat the vomit.  No, my friends, that just wouldn’t do.  He ate the carpet.  HE ATE AN ACTUAL HOLE, IN THE ACTUAL CARPET.  You can clean vomit with, I don’t know, Windex or some crap.  YOU CANNOT WINDEX AN ACTUAL HOLE IN AN ACTUAL CARPET.

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So I did what any responsible dogsitter would do.  I freaked the piss-shit out.  I ran downstairs, and looked under the sink frantically for some kind of a stain remover, and I grabbed the best looking thing and a bunch of paper towels and started scrubbing at those vomit stains with a purpose.  Bean, I thought.  This was all at the hands of Bean.  I didn’t want to hate her but I needed somewhere to direct my panic and rage.  How am I going to tell them?!  The paper towels were no match for the caliber of puke stain and kept flaking off into little bits of balled up damp paper, now too stained orange, with flecks of dog treat in them.  A metaphor for my life.  “Why now…why today?  IT WAS THE LAST DAY!”  I shuttled between the paper towels and the vomit stains, not knowing exactly when they’d be home.  Time was of the essence.  I made my way over to the gaping hole in the carpet, and like a jackass started putting the pieces of carpet shrapnel back into the hole like it would fill it up.  “WHY, BOSTON, WHY???”  The panic crept back into me as I realized I still had to alert the family.  Just pretend…  “No, Melanie, you have too much integrity for that.”  The panic rose as I thought about monetary compensation.  Would I have to pay for this?  Why didn’t I get a real job?!  I’ll tell the son…I’ll text the son…  I often turn to comedy in times of turmoil, half on purpose, half on accident, without much discretion.  So, what I sent was a panicked description of a scene of war and pleads for mercy, in all caps.  After I sent it, I thought, I’m a moron, and continued to panic.  “Why did I eat all the Reese’s Cups…Is this because of the Reese’s Cups?!” I called to the sky, remorseful, but not that remorseful.

Once I finally realized that there was nothing else that could be done about the hole, I inspected every corner of every single other room like no dogsitter has ever inspected before, to my knowledge.  The verdict: everywhere else was clear.  At least the damage was limited to one room, I thought.  I then went downstairs and looked to the back door.  Claw marks.  Boston had been scratching the whole time.  I looked into his eyes and knew it wasn’t his fault–he had tried to escape with dignity.  IT WAS BEAN’S FAULT!  “It wasn’t Bean’s fault.”  It was no one’s fault.  And yet, I knew this was the end of my vacation home dream world.  Defeated, I straightened up the downstairs as best as I could to distract from the fact that a vomit bomb had exploded in the bonus room just upstairs, and then I said my farewells to Boston for the last time.  “It’s been real, buddy.  I hope you feel better.”  He died from fiber poisoning later that night.  (Jk.  He was fine.)

Denoument:  In the end of it all, my non-consensual second mother was very understanding, and repeatedly stressed the fact that it wasn’t my fault, but I never dogsat for the family again.  I wasn’t paid as much as usual that summer, but since I didn’t have to pay for the carpet, I felt it a blessing.  Plus the son said he laughed at the text.  So, even though in one short incident, my credibility not only as a dogsitter, but also as a housesitter, was catapulted into the fiery pits of hell, that was a win.

But anyway, it’s late and I’m tired, so let’s wrap this up.  Morals and lessons.  What did I learn?  Panic, Windex, and laughter are life’s cure-all’s.  And never trust a Bean.

I know it’s been a long one, so thanks for sticking around.

Yours in tragedy,

Melanie

P.S. I didn’t forget about the gnat.