Upside-Down… Whatever

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, today’s Fat Mum Slim Photo-A-Day prompt is “upside-down”.  And as I mentioned, I could easily take any old picture and use iPhoto to turn it upside down and meet today’s objective.  But that’s too easy and would really mean nothing in the grand scheme of things.

But the truth is, “upside-down” is a good prompt.  It’s not a great photo prompt, but it’s a good prompt.  You see, it’s more applicable to my life.  My life is upside-down right now.

Don’t worry.  This is not a “woe is me,” “I’m so depressed” kind of post.  I’m really not, which, honestly, probably ought to worry me.  It’s more of an introspective, “wow my life is… ‘upside down'” kind of post.

You see, I’ve been “underemployed” since mid-October.  Honestly?  It’s been lovely!  I absolutely love not having to get up at 6:30 in the morning to go to work!  I love not having to listen to people snivel about the temperature in the building, because honestly?  I’m hard pressed to give a damn that you’re cold, while you’re wearing Capri pants, sandals, and a silk, sleeveless shirt during winter and you’re the only person around who’s cold.  You expect me to turn up the heat?  Why don’t you try putting on a fucking sweater!  And don’t give me a song and dance about it being too cold and that’s why you need an illegal space heater, which you just happened to think was best placed on top of a bunch of cardboard boxes!!!

Yeah.  It’s been a while since I had a full-time job.  From a financial perspective, that’s not a good thing.  I’m living on fumes.  I just put in a request to liquidate my very meager retirement account just so I’ll have money to live on for the next six months or so.   Of course I want to spend as little of that money as possible but the fact remains that unless I want to move back to a red state suburbia, I must find a way to support myself, even if I have to find a way to make myself comfortable in a less…  comfortable lifestyle than that to which I am currently accustomed.

I still need to look for a full-time job in my chosen profession of Facility Management which will hopefully sustain my life and provide an opportunity for advancement that will result in more money and more of a comfortable lifestyle.

In the meantime I have to bring in some money, and so today I went to two separate restaurants, in two very separate parts of the bay area to apply for bar tending jobs.  I happened across two posts yesterday on Craigslist for bartenders at specific locations of chain restaurants.  One is seven miles from my house in the midst of a fairly business, but slightly residential area that might provide me with a decent opportunity to make money in tips and gain some convenient restaurant experience.  The other is 30 miles from my house and is in the midst of an almost entirely business district.  Naturally, at the close restaurant the hiring manager is on vacation until Monday.  The hostess recommended that I call in the morning on Monday and then plan to come by around 2:30 in the afternoon to see the hiring manager for a potential interview.  She even told me, “I think he’ll like you.  You look a lot alike.

“Oh?” I said, smiling.

“Yeah,” she said, “he wears glasses.  Has a shaved head…”   I hoped she’d make a comment about how he was a snappy dresser, or maybe how I was exactly his type romantically…  but whatever.  I’ll call on Monday morning and hope I can interview with him on Monday afternoon.  The problem is, restaurants tend to prefer to promote from within, for bar tenders and they like to hire servers with the potential hope of getting promoted to bar tenders.  I’m not interested in serving.  In fact, I really suck at it.  I want to be a bar tender.  That’s what I took a class to learn, and that’s why I respond to ads that say they’re hiring bar tenders, not “servers who might eventually become bar tenders.”

From there, I went to the second restaurant.  It was 32 miles from the restaurant I had visited first, and at that time of day, 2:45 pm, it was supposed to take me 32 minutes to get there.  That was about right.  In keeping with the idea that my life is upside down right now, they seemed interested in hiring me.  They really pushed the fact that it is “a long drive” from my house.  And it is.  It’s about 25 miles, which legitimately may be too far for me to drive for a shift that isn’t going to garner me nearly as much money as I had hoped for, but at least it gets my foot in the door for the industry.  Hopefully by having a little restaurant experience under my belt I will be more attractive to places that I can expect to make better tip money, closer to home. They also made a big point of telling me that because they’re in a business district, their biggest days are end of the work week and not so much week-ends (as is the case in most restaurants) and they pushed the fact that they like to promote from within and are really looking for servers (even though their ad said, bartenders).

I spoke with the general manager today and she suggested that they could hire me as a “cocktail server” to work in the bar during happy hours and that depending on how quickly I learned and picked up on the “important details of their menu” I could move on to bar tender from there.  I played along as though I understood that serving would be a necessary part of the job (and I really did, though I don’t like it) and the end result was that I will go back for a “final” interview on Thursday before a final decision was made, but based on the conversations with the two people I did talk with, they seemed interested, if I was.  They just put a lot of emphasis on the desire for longevity.  I told them I believe in keeping my commitments and so if something came up with one of my other employers when I was already scheduled with this restaurant, I would not ditch the restaurant for the job.  I also told them I was looking for a full-time job in my “chosen career,” as the manager kept putting it, and so, of course, my availability would change depending on where and when I found full-time employment.

Meanwhile, the best prospect I’ve had, since before I got “released during probation” from my last full-time job, is offering me about three shifts a week, not behind a bar, at approximately $100 (or less) per shift in tips, and I’ll have to drive 25-30 miles each way, in my 18 miles to the gallon, gas guzzling, albeit sexy as hell, automobile to get there.

On the one hand, I’m excited at the prospect of being wanted for a job, anywhere at all.  On the other hand, this job can’t possibly sustain me and I must keep looking.  The question suddenly becomes, is it enough to put me off unemployment insurance, and is there anything to be gained by accepting a job that will reduce my available time to search for a job, while not making enough to eliminate the free money that is unemployment insurance…

What to do…  What to do?

Anyway, just for the hell of it…  Here.  Mostly just ’cause I think it’s funny.  A Cosmopolitan I made at home the other night, using Hanger One Mandarine Blossom Vodka, #upside-down.

An upside-down picture of a cosmopolitan made with Hangar One Mandarine Blossom Vodka.  Notice how it doesn't spill. ;)

An upside-down picture of a cosmopolitan made with Hangar One Mandarine Blossom Vodka. Notice how it doesn’t spill. 😉

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The Continuing Saga of My Close Personal Friendship with Aisha Tyler

If you’ve been around these parts very long, (and with a couple notable exceptions, I’m certain you haven’t) you already know about my long-standing personal friendship with the beautiful, hilarious and talented actress, comedian, writer, podcaster, and Co-host of the daytime talk show The Talk on CBS, Aisha Tyler.  If you’re new here, you can read the story here and here (though if you bother to look at those, I apologize that many of the pictures and links are broken, which makes them less exciting to read, especially the first one) and even here (though that last one is less about Aisha and more about an odd and confusing experience I had which happened to be on the same night as my last visit to one of Aisha’s shows.

That unavoidable, once a year event, which we often wish we could ignore is coming around again…  really soon.  And to celebrate Michelle and I went to dinner at a restaurant I had never been to before called The Dead Fish.  (Rumor is that’s a famous line in the family that started the restaurant.  The kids would ask mom, “What’s for dinner” and mom would say, “Dead fish.”)  I had heard lots of good things about the place and had high expectations, which, sadly were not lived up to.  It’s a nice enough place and the food was fine, but I expected better and more.  I had “Crispy Pork Shank” which was not crispy at all and, in fact, was rather the consistence of pot roast, something I do not care for, and had a lot of fat on it.  Plus, I ordered a Bombay martini, having recently discovered that Bombay Sapphire gin is actually quite smooth and pleasant – something that came as quite a surprise to me as I wasn’t much of a gin drinker.  I wasn’t as specific as perhaps I should have been while ordering, but I was disappointed with what I was served.  It did not come in a martini glass but rather some sort of goblet, almost like an old time champagne glass (non-flute).  The goblet held very little liquid and they left me with an ice filled shaker with the rest of my martini in it.  By the time I was ready to refill my glass, the ice was half melted and my martini was severely watered down.  On top of that, there was noticeably too much vermouth which, for my tastes should really just be there to take the edge off the gin slightly, not be a notable flavor, particularly in a martini with such quality gin!

Dinner was followed by the late show at Cobb’s Comedy Club in San Francisco.  My good friend Aisha Tyler was headlining.  As far as I know she hasn’t toured since starting her stint as one of the cacophony of voices of The Talk which is in the same vein as The View.  I told Michelle, “It’s better than The View, but it’s still a bunch of ladies sitting around a table talking over each other for an hour.”  (I was disappointed when I found out my good friend was joining that show, but I am happy for her and her well-deserved success – and paycheck.)  I was sure that after such a long break she would have a full set of new material, and for the most part she did.

After the show we waited in line to talk to Aisha, get a picture taken with her and an autographed copy of seasons 2 and 3 of her very funny, animated, FX sitcom Archer.

(This is the part where you find out just how close Aisha Tyler and I really are…)

Given the way I‘ve been feeling this weekend, I was feeling ever so slightly insecure and as we were waiting in line, I mentioned to Michelle that I was going to be disappointed if Aisha didn’t recognize me after so long.

We walked up to her and she greeted us as graciously as ever!  She and I shook hands and ended up talking over each other.  She said, “It’s nice to meet you.” as I said, “It’s been a long time.  It’s nice to see you again.”  A moment of unmistakable confusion darkened her eyes before she brightened up again and, with evident enthusiasm, said, “Hey!  I didn’t recognize you for a minute.”

Now, I know what you’re thinking, and if it were anybody else, I might agree with you.  I just don’t want to agree with you.  And, only because of what she said next, do I choose to believe with certainty that she was sincere.  She looked me over from head to toe and then looked back in my eyes and said, “Every time I see you, you’re skinnier than the last time!  That’s why it takes me a second to recognize you!  You look fantastic!”  (Incidentally, her inscription on the cover of season 2 of Archer was “So foxy!”  Those of you who are Archer fans will understand: on season 3 she wrote, “Sploosh!”)

See, I can’t help thinking that she really does recognize and remember me, because, “Hey you used to be way fatter!”, while complementary in its own strange way, isn’t really the way to fake remembering someone who may not have been fatter before.  Given what I’ve observed first hand about her kindness and grace, I can’t believe she would choose that tactic.

Besides…

I used to be way fatter…

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(Really wishing I’d worn a better shirt.  That shirt is WAY too big and is now in the “to donate” pile.)

It Pays To Be Regular

… er– A Regular.

There’s a deli across the street from my office.  It doesn’t offer a whole lot of food, but what they do have is generally pretty good.  I’m actually more partial to them in the morning when I want breakfast.  They make croissant breakfast sandwiches and coffee drinks that are pretty tasty and only a little bit over-priced.  It’s a small location, however, and they can’t cook or bake things there, so all their bakery goods come from their sister location three blocks away where they do make everything fresh… as far as I know.

Because they don’t bake anything on site, there is a limited number of things, like for instance, the croissants.  If you don’t get there early enough, they run out and you either have to get something far more fattening, or you get nothing at all.

When I walked in at 9:40 this morning the platter in the display case which should hold the croissants was empty.  I was disappointed that I got there too late… again!  I was looking in the display case to see what else I would get and a gentleman walked in and stood behind me to wait his turn.  I turned to him and told him he could go ahead since I was still looking in the case and just as I turned away from him the cashier looked at me and said, “Ham, egg and cheese.  Right?”

I said, “Yes, but you don’t have any more croissants.”

She told me they had one last one, and then the person who prepares the food started assembling my sandwich.

The cashier turned to the gentleman I had waived pasted me, as he approached, and asked him for his order.  He said, “I’d like a ham, egg and cheese croissant, please?”

It pays to be a regular

Hands

Tonight was my bi-weekly dinner with Lil’B.  When I picked him up, he was bundled up in more layers than I ever remember seeing him in; with a fleece hoodie over his shirt, a thick puffy vest over that and a knit cap on his head, he looked like a longshoremen on his way to the docks.  I was informed he had been sick and was still getting over it. He told me he didn’t go to school on Thursday and Friday while he was sick and I asked him what he did during that time.  He, of course said, “I don’t know.”  I asked him if he played video games and he said no. Then he told me that he watched movies.

I said, “That’s a good way to pass the time while you’re sick.  What did you watch?”

“On Thursday I watched Elmo in Grouchland,” he told me, ” and on Friday, I watched Rio.”  The boy has watched Rio a thousand times so I didn’t spend any energy on that, but I was amused because he watched Elmo.

I told him, “That sounds like fun! I really like Elmo.”

“Me too.”

We went to this little restaurant in Alameda, called The Red Onion (It claims to be “The Original The Red Onion”), which sadly didn’t turn out very well.  The food wasn’t too bad, but the service, location, service, ambiance, service, and prices… and service, were not great.  Plus they don’t take credit cards which I didn’t know until we were already seated and looking at the menu.  They take cash or ATM (with a $.75 service charge.)  That’s just ridiculous.  And Shifty.  Anyway, we had a lot of downtime while we were waiting for anyone to notice that we were in need of some sort of service or other.  (It happened multiple times.)

There was a plasma screen TV on the wall which was showing Space Jam and he was entranced.  This is the reason I enjoy hanging out with Lil’B.  I like kids movies and with him, I get to watch them.

Lil’B had spaghetti which, for a while, he was eating one noodle at a time, getting the end in his mouth and then slurping in Lady and the Tramp style.  I watched him do this a couple of times and chuckled.  I’m pretty sure that, as an adult influence, I was supposed to tell him to stop and eat the spaghetti properly, but, you know, I fail at adult influence…  At least I do when the kid is being funny.  The thing is though, as I watched him slurp the noodles, I also noticed that they were hitting the front of his hoodie.  There wasn’t nearly enough sauce on the noodles for my taste and the noodles were fairly clean, but I spoke up anyway, telling him that he was going to get his shirt dirty.

He put his fork down, picked up a napkin and looked down at his shirt front.  He couldn’t see any sauce, so he pulled the front of the vest apart more so he could get a better look.  Then he pulled the front of the hoodie, where the zipper was, apart so he could look at the metal.

And that’s when I saw it.  Something I hadn’t watched for.  Something I hadn’t anticipated, though, I should have because it was inevitable.  This little boy, who watched Elmo and Rio while he was sick and was so engrossed in Space Jam while we ate…  This little kid who still doesn’t ask for what he wants and just goes with the flow…  The spritely young thing that doesn’t even stand as tall as my chest…  Has grown up hands.  I don’t know when I last really paid attention to his hands, but I know they were tiny little things with bad hang nails and gnawed, ragged edges; scrawny, clumsy, short little things.  And now, his fingers are long and slender, controlled and strong. His hands are grown up hands and it seems like it happened over night.  It’s just one more sign that his “little boy” days are numbered and before long he’ll be a young man.  I can’t believe it!

The No Good, Very Bad, Terrible, Awful Night, That Turned Out Pretty Okay

Once I finally got out of the house yesterday, things went less than smoothly at first.  I started out in bad shape because the only thing I had to eat all day, up to then, was two pieces of toast with peanut butter and honey at about 11:30 in the morning.  I was pretty hungry by the time I left the house and my head was starting to hurt.  I sent Michelle a text to verify my suspicions, saying, “Would it be safe to assume that there won’t really be food for a while?”  Historically, I show up “on time” for these events and they’re still thinking about preparing to start getting ready to start making food.  It is what it is, and because I wasn’t feeling great I knew I had to take measures to accommodate that.  Michelle never answered my text but I took that as a yes.

I went to the Pet Store to get the cat food with little incident and I went from there to BevMo.  I know Monique, I know what she likes, and I knew that a “small” bottle of Patron tequila would make for a great gift.  The parking lot at the shopping center where the BevMo is located is way too small for the number and types of stores that are in it and people tend to be really selfish and rude there.  I was cut off several times just trying to get into the parking lot and into a space.

I left there and went around the corner to Target.  By that time, I was cranky and my head really hurt, so the first thing I did was go to the snack bar.  Only there were about 12 people in line and there was one employee behind the counter who was in no hurry to get anything done.  I walked away from the snack bar with a different plan.  I would buy a small Lunchable which would tide me over until I got to the party and food was ready.  I grabbed a cart and started rushing down the fist aisle of the store, but there were two individuals who were meandering along.  More than once they made like they were going to turn out from in front of me and as I’d move to go around them they would turn back out into the aisle.  Finally the guy pulled the girl aside and as I rushed past them, I heard him say in a disgruntled tone, “Let’s move so this guy can finally go around us.”  I sped on down the way, and around the corner to cut across the back aisle to the grocery department where I stopped to stock up on Diet Pepsi, both for home and for work (they had a good price on both, cans for home, bottles for work.)

Next I grabbed my Lunchable and headed over to Healthy & Beauty to get mouthwash and some pre-brush, whitening rinse (this stuff must work because every time I go to my dentist he asks me if I bleach my teeth.)  Then I headed over to the appliances for my “semi-significant (to me – and probably only to me) purchase.  I made up my mind that I was going to get a Keurig machine and I went to compare models and prices and determine which one to get.  No sooner did I stop in front of the machines than the two people from the first aisle came around the corner into the coffee maker aisle and the woman was loudly telling the man a story about a work conflict.  She was agitated just telling the story, and she used a number of curse words in the process of the telling.  They just stood in the aisle, about five feet from me as she told her friend her story, and she was so loud I couldn’t even think. So I just stood there, staring at the machines and waiting for them to get what they came for and leave.

Finally, she changed subjects and started talking about a coffee maker.  The guy said something about, “but it only makes one cup!”

She said, “Um, hello.  How many people live in my apartment?”

He said, “OK, so are you gonna get it?”

She answered, “No, I’m not gonna get it! I’m fucking broke!”

And then they walked away empty-handed, but as they did, I heard her say, “That dude is just standing there, staring at the coffee makers.”

Um, yeah!  ‘Cause I couldn’t hear myself think!!!

Finally, I decided which one I wanted and selected a box.  They have labels on the boxes saying when they were packed, which I assumed was relevant because they come with a sample pack of K-Cups so I wanted the freshest one.  I saw a box that said it was packed in January of 2012 so I grabbed that one.

The last thing I did before going to the check stand was look for a gift bag and tissue paper for Monique’s present and a card.

At last I made my way to the check stand.  My head was splitting, I was getting jittery and I was hungry.  Plus it was nearly 6:30 and while I knew the party wouldn’t be in full swing yet, it was supposed to have started at 5:30.  I had two gift cards in my wallet that I intended to use toward the coffee maker and the balance was going on my Target credit card (5% off with the card).  The other items I would purchase with my regular debit card.  The cashier rang up the coffee maker and it came up $15.00 more expensive than the tag on the shelf said.  He started to call for a price check and I glanced at the box again and realized I had put the wrong machine in my cart.  I wanted the one that makes three different size cups and I had the one that makes five different sizes.  I told him my mistake and asked if someone could go and get the right one.  They were maybe 30 feet away.  It shouldn’t have been a big issue.

The customer service manager came over and after telling her what I wanted she started calling into the radio for someone to bring up the right coffee maker, only she didn’t know what I was talking about, and whoever was on the other end of her radio didn’t know what I was talking about and I was getting flustered because I could feel that my blood sugar was getting low AND the cashier was doing a ridiculous job of bagging my items.  He rang up the birthday card and put it on the counter in front of me and then put the gift bag and tissue in a bag before lying the mouthwash and whitening rinse on top of them.  He wasn’t going to bag my six packs of bottles of Diet Pepsi until I asked him to do so,  but then he put the Lunchable into one of those bags while putting the two cold bottles of Diet Pepsi I bought, on the counter in front of me.  (I always show up at Michelle’s families house with my own beverages because I never know what they’re going to have.)

Finally, I told them to forget the coffee maker, there was just too much going on, and I proceeded to stand there and rebag my items as he was ringing them up.  After I paid for the stuff, I was heading away from the check-stand, very agitated over the experience and the Customer Service Manager, who was between there and the door, stopped me and she apologized for the confusion.  I pulled her aside and I said,”Actually I wanted to talk to you. I have to tell you, I’m a fan of Target.  I shop at Target all the time, and at a number of different stores depending on where I happen to be at the time.  This is the only store I’ve ever been to that consistently has a ridiculous line, in the snack bar, and one lone worker behind the counter taking their jolly sweet time.”  I then told her about the way the cashier was bagging my items and I told her, “I know he was disabled, I saw his crutch.  I’m not complaining that he didn’t move.  I’m not complaining that he was slow.  I get that, and it’s fine.  I’m complaining because he clearly doesn’t know how to bag stuff.  I was a cashier in high school and I was taught how to do this properly.”

She nodded her head and acknowledged what I was saying all along, and at that point she said, “I was too, and you’re right, he clearly needs some training.  I’ll talk to him.”

And it was at that point that I suddenly saw myself from the outside and realized what was happening.  I told her, “I’m sorry.  I don’t mean to be yelling at you,” (I wasn’t actually yelling) “I’m just running late, my blood sugar is low, which is why I bought the Lunchable in the first place.  I’m not normally like this, and I apologize.”  Then I said, “I actually do want the coffee maker.  Is it OK if I just leave my cart up here, I’ll go get the right one and just go through the express line?”

She said, “I understand.  I’ve had these crashes before, too.  Go sit down and eat your snack.  I’ll go get the coffee maker and bring it up to Guest Services for you.”

I must say that once I ate the Lunchable, I started to feel a little better, but what I really appreciated out of this exchange was, when I got to Guest Services to buy the coffee maker, she had told the cashier to give me 10% off.  I don’t particularly feel like I deserved the discount, but I was grateful none the less.

Finally, I got to Monique’s house for the party and the place was packed.  Music was blaring, people were shouting to be heard over the sound of the music and over the sound of other people shouting to be heard.  My head was still hurting a lot.  I was the grouch at the party.  I was torn.  I wanted to celebrate with my friends, but I also wanted to leave, but I also didn’t want to be the party-pooper who left.  Every where I stood, I was in someone’s way.  Finally, I sat on a stool and made up my mind not to move.  But then I took some Ibuprofen.  And then I ate some food.  And I had a drink.  And a friend stood there and talked to me.  And I started to feel better.

Not long after the cake was cut 2/3 of the people cleared out and it was just the core group.  I don’t know when it happened, but my headache was gone, my blood sugar had stabilized, my mood had improved…and I was having fun.

And then the most ordinary, amazing thing happened.  I had a lovely, involved, heart to heart conversation with one of the people there.  One of the extended family members, Amanda, who is eight years younger than I, (which means nothing now, but meant everything 14 years ago when I met her), has been in a relationship with her girlfriend for more than six years.   Amanda and I, talked about her relationship and her family and her experience of coming out to them.  We talked about their nebulous plans to go to New York, when the spirit moves them and the opportunity presents itself, so that they can get married.  We talked about the ludicrousness of the fact that same-sex marriage isn’t legal on a national level and the status of the Prop 8 case in the legal system.  And we talked about my family, and my experience and what things are like now.

And we connected, with no awkwardness, no discomfort, no nervousness, just open, honest, loving communication between two friends who really understood where the other was coming from.  And it was nice.

And I’m so glad I stayed.

Sopapillas and Pita Bread

I was going to write a riveting, brilliant, startling revelation of a post, today, about my improved emotional well-being and something that I’ve been giving a lot of though to recently.  It was going to be a amazing and you were going to love it.

But now I’m just pissed off and it’s all your fault.  Yours and yours and…  well, not yours.  You didn’t do it.

It’s all this bullshit I’m seeing everywhere I turn about the bills before the house and congress about censorship of the internet.  I’m just sick of it.

No!  You know what I’m sick of?  I’m sick of vigilante activism.  That’s what I’m sick of.  Occupy this.  Black out that.  Come on!  You want to educate people, then educate people, but this is ridiculous.

Last night I watched a really weird LGBT movie called “The Lost Coast”.  The movie was strange, but it had some really good moments in it.  Early on one of the characters picks up a photograph in another characters apartment and says, “Is this the lost coast?”  I didn’t even know the lost coast was a real place.  (Turns out it’s somewhere north of where I live, here in California.)  I did what I always do when I don’t know something.  I Googled it.  This was last night; about 9:00.  The first result, as is so often the case, was Wikipedia.  So I clicked on the link and the page loaded, and then just as I was starting to read about the lost coast, the screen went black and an annoying message popped up, whining at me about internet censorship and “Imagine a World
Without Free Knowledge”.  There was no way to acknowledge the message and move on.  Just, “nah-neh-nah-neh-nah-nah.  You can’t read my pages.”  Last night.  It annoyed me, but I found what I wanted to know elsewhere.

Today, as I’m reading through the blogs in my reader, I find post after post about these bills and how wretched and horrible and awful the bills are.  Now, I usually open the blogs and read them on people’s sites.  I’m not at all sure that reading in Google Reader counts toward people’s page views on their blog stats and while we like to pretend we’re cool and don’t care about such things, we’re lying.  We all care.  So I like to make sure it counts.  (This, by the way, is the reason you have to come to my blog to read the entire post… just in case you were wondering.)  Anyway, half of these posts have come through just fine in my reader and I could read the entire thing if I wanted, but when I clicked on the blogs themselves the blogs are blacked out “in protest”.  So, I can read teh whole damn post on Google Reader, but I can’t read it on your blogs and show you I’ve been there.  Vigilante Activism Fail!!!

It’s not that you wrote blog posts about it.  They’re your blogs.  You can write what you want.  Personally, I’m annoyed by the glut of posts on the subject, but at least by writing about the bills you’re making an effort to educate me.  It’s the “blacking out” of the pages “in protest” that’s got me pissed.  By the way, I haven’t read any of your anti-sopapilla bill blog posts.  I’ve even dropped a couple anti-pita bread bloggers from my line up.  Enough is enough!

I sent a link to a particularly funny lolcat to K this afternoon.  The lolcats did it right.  There’s a screen that pops up in front of the page and tells you to beware the bogey monster and then at the bottom it asks you  if you’d like to learn more.  You can click a “learn more” button and, imagine that, learn more.  Or you can click on the “no thanks” button and get on with your life.  K wouldn’t look at the lolcat because she wasn’t willing to click the “no thanks” button.  Her loss.

Look.  I get it.  Censorship is bad.  We don’t want these bills to pass and if someone presents me with an unoffensive petition to sign, I’ll sign it.  I sent the e-mails to my representatives.  I’ve done my part.  And the truth is, I don’t really understand what these bills are about.  What is internet piracy?  How are these bills supposed to make things better?  I. Don’t. Know.  What I do know is, blacking out or otherwise inconveniencing half of the internet, isn’t serving any purpose.  I guarantee you the talking heads in Washington, do not care that I couldn’t look up the lost coast last night.  The vast majority of them have not looked for a single website that happened to be part of this ridiculous protest.

IT.  DOES.  NOT.  WORK.

Flavor

A while back K told me about an on-line writing group; a website called Write on Edge.  I subscribed to the blog and started watching the writing prompts they offered.  Everything, at first glance, seems so vague.  The word limits are always too small.  We all know brevity is not my forté.

The most recent writing prompt was one word; flavor.  Four hundred words or less, either fiction or creative non-fiction.  I told K, “I don’t like it.  It’s too vague.”   She told me I should just give it a try.  So I did.  What follows is my first ever submission to this writing group, in the shadows of which, I have lurked for months.

I don’t think it’s very good (go figure) and it seems really contrived, but what the hell.  It’s not like I’m going to get a grade for it.  So here you go…

Flavor:

It took him a long time to open up.  Months of silent car rides, open-ended questions answered with a vague “I don’t know”, and doubts about what the relationship was accomplishing for either of us.  I began to contemplate giving up.  Maybe he didn’t need me.  Maybe he didn’t need anyone or maybe he needed something I wasn’t providing and someone else could.  Could I walk away?  Should I walk away?  After all, I had met my initial commitment.

Walking away just seemed wrong, so I stuck it out hoping to see something change.  I reduced the amount of time I spent with him; it took a lot out of me and I didn’t feel connected.  Half as much time would have to suffice.

I don’t know when it changed.  One day it was suddenly obvious; half the time wasn’t enough.  He wanted more and I wanted to give him more.  A new schedule.  More time.  Different days.  Dinners some weeks.  He lit up at the notion.

After the second dinner when he returned home he told his sister all about our outing.  “And he had five Diet Pepsi’s” he told her, excitement in his voice.  That’s when I knew he was watching.  Picking up on everything.  He sees all that I do.  I have to be constantly aware, vigilant about the example I set.  But I don’t mind.

I try to show him a good way to be, but it’s hard when what I want to show him is something different from what I am.  I know he’s following my lead.  I should eat better; drink more water.  But I love the flavor of Diet Pepsi.  It’s my one vice.  I’m completely addicted.  The sweet, refreshing, cola taste.  It’s the first thing to enter my mind when the all important, “can I get you something to drink?” is asked.

He talks to me now.  Still a lot of “I don’t know”, but there’s much more than that now.  Stories about school.  Stories about friends.  Stories about playing video games.  But he talks.  And when I taste that sweet, dark elixir, I’m reminded, once again, that our relationship matters; that he needs me and I need him.

And that tastes pretty damn good.