Monday, July 31, 2006

Poor Phil

Wednesday, I was wearing the T-shirt my friend Jennifer gave me as I walking back from the corner store with a Coke for my brother who was fixing my flat tire. The T-shirt is blue with the words "Dork Magnet" written across the chest. The "n" in magnet is a red horseshoe magnet. This short little guy around my age with shockingly dark hairy legs sort of hesitantly told me that he liked my T-shirt once I had crossed the street to where he was. I smiled and thanked him, laughing a little because I love that the shirt was bought for me by someone who knew me well enough to know how appropriate it was rather than me having bought it for myself. He then paused, walking a little behind me, then said, "My name is Phil," with the emphasis of the word "my" as if to say, "Well, I'm the dork named Phil that is currently attracted to you. The humor in his tone that communicated that he knew he was a dork and that he knew this was a long shot but that he had to try it anyway made me laugh very hard in an - I hope - companionable way. If I hadn't been in the middle of car distress, I probably would have stopped to talk to him, just to honor his chutzpah. As it was, though, I was nearing my brother and as Phil saw that I was joining a scene with a man next to a motorcycle with full-sleeve tattoos, he probably assumed my t-shirt was actually mocking rather than inviting him, which makes me a little sad. He said with good-natured defeat in his voice, "Have a good night." I wished him the same and went back to freaking out about my car.

I do have to say that after watching someone change my flat tire twice now, I think I can do it myself next time.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


The heat is so intense in my brick oven of an apartment that when I poured the ice-cold Coke into the thick hand-blown glass with little Murano fish on it, the refrigerated liquid cracked the warm vessel.

I'm hanging out in my brother's air-conditioned room tonight.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Yesterday, I was shopping for picnic food for my date. I was wearing my "I love nerds" T-shirt that I've gotten so much attention for in the past. (#47) I had thought that the attention that I had gotten from men the day I wore the shirt to the Renaissance Faire was an exception because there is such a high density of nerds there. But, walking around the city, yesterday, I discovered that there are all sorts of nerds out there: nerds from India, Latino nerds, guys in cars who waved at me. And the guy who sold me my cheese.

It started like it usually does: "So, you like nerds, huh?" Sometimes they say, "I'm a nerd." Sometimes, it just hangs there unspoken. This time, it was unspoken. He asked me what I was looking for. "Brie," I answered.

"Do you see that one over there, without a label?"

"The half-circle?"

"Yes. That one is so good it is like it was hand-crafted by God. And I'm an athiest."

I flipped the supposedly divine cheese round over and saw that it was $18. Hand-crafted by God, indeed.

However, I just recently got the last of the money that my ex-husband owes me with a little extra because he really didn't want me to take him to court which would reveal to his new wife his utter boorishness. So, I've been spending the extra on things that make me happy. I've bought a great new ring and figured that he could pay for the food for my adorable date as well.

So, I told the cheese guy that I would take it and began to walk away. He said, "Tell me if you like it. And tell me when you have your next nerd party."

"I haven't had one of those since the special edition of the first Lord of The Rings came out." I was flirting a little and took credit for my friend Mark's nerd party.

"Oh, I'm not that kind of nerd."

I was walking away, so I didn't ask the question that is now burning inside of me.

What kind of a nerd is he!?!

If he was a computer/science nerd, he would have employable skills and he would not need to work at Whole Foods. What other nerds get to scoffs at fantasy nerds? Fantasy nerds are the dominant culture within the nerd community! I mean seriously, think Dungeons and Dragons, comic books and Star Trek. What kind of isolated sub-group do you have to be to scoff at Frodo? Video games? Paleontology? I can't fathom it.

However, the cheese is as good as he said it would be. The rest will have to remain a mystery.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


OK, seriously. Someone found my site by searching for "deer tongue lettuce massachusetts."


Monday, July 17, 2006

I have a teeny tiny competitive streak

Today I have to ask a boy out.

I’m terrified.

But it’s time.

It’s no longer about him. I mean, he’s still a thing of beauty to look at with an interesting life story on whom I have a gigantic crush. But I’ve had a lot of gigantic crushes in my life and not one of them has ever resolved itself into me asking him out. Mostly, they just fizzle away. And I’m fine with that. Very zen, in fact, about it. Whatever will be will be and all that. So, there’s nothing different about the level of either my crushing or the level of my desperation (actually extremely low right now) that would cause me to need to put myself out there like this. It’s no longer about him.

It’s about Erin. She also has a crush on him and she is ALWAYS THERE whenever I talk to him. She is the worst of high school in the way she angles toward him and jockeys for position. Very un-subtle. It insults my sense of propriety of how these things should be done as adults.

But I can’t help feeling a sense of competition with her because of this, which also insults my sense of propriety. So, it’s time to do something to save me from myself. I want to get to a point that if I have a conversation with him it is simply a conversation without ulterior motive. I want to get to a point where I no longer have the urge to slap her down and really PLAY the game she’s trying to start. Because let me tell you something, there are some things I know that her good Christian life can’t even begin to prepare her for. Suffering, heartache and loss, not to mention the whole not-a-virgin thing, give me a real edge that she would just bleed on if I really wanted to win this one. It’s lucky for her that a guy won through manipulation is of no interest to me.

OK, I guess I needed to get that last little bit off of my chest. Proof for you of the sense of competition that I need to get out from under. Sorry, Jesus. I know it hurts you when I talk like that.

Also, I like Erin. She is helping me break down some of the internal walls that I’ve built up against other Christians because she doesn’t seem to hold my heretical doctrine or lifestyle choices against me. I’m particularly impressed by her ability to look at her own actions and examine whether or not they were loving and to apologize for them if they weren’t. She just quit teaching after five or six years to give herself a break and I have to respect someone that broke the same you-must-teach-for-the-next-thirty-years-if-it-is-going-to-mean-something mindset that I did. Plus, she’s fun and invites me to stuff. How could I not like her?

So, this has got to stop. And it will only stop if I know whether or not he’s interested in me. If he is, then I can let her maneuver her way onto the back of his motorcycle all she wants, comfortable that I’m the one going out to dinner with him on Friday. If he’s not, then she can horn in on discussions with him all she wants without threatening my effort to impress him because I will have given up my effort to impress him.

So, all this means that I have to get off my tookas and actually live up to my sense of propriety. What good is priding oneself on being straight-forward if one isn’t actually straight-forward when one’s heart and dignity are on the line? I just have to steel myself for being embarrassed and awkward and possibly rejected and just do it.


So, I’m going to go by the coffee shop that he manages today after work and if he’s there I will say after appropriate small talk, “I was wondering if you’d be interested in going out with me sometime.” Short, simple. No extra explanations that will only make me look flustered and cause me to have to hit myself on the forehead after I leave, chanting, “STU-pid, STU-pid.” Plus, if it’s concise, I can rehearse it in my head a lot over the course of the day.

So, I know I’m not a baby having heart surgery, but if you felt like praying for me around 5:00 or 5:15, gosh, would I appreciate it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Right of Way

Today, I pulled up to the first stoplight on my way to a friend's house after work and started to stare off into space like I so often do. As my attention got pulled back to the community around my by the same inexplicable force that caused it to drift off in the first place, I noticed an older Black man walking through the crosswalk in front of me. Dressed in royal blue work pants that were too big but belted with a old but clean white button-down short-sleeved dress shirt tucked in neatly, he had stopped in front of my car and was waiting to get my attention. As soon as he had it, he literally (and I do know how to use the word) tipped his blue baseball hat to me and then continued across the street and into the corner liquor store once I smiled largely and genuinely in response.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I, state your name.

I'm 28 years old and my family has had a VHS machine for as long as I can remember. If you do the math (don't worry, I will), that means that we probably had the ability to watch movies at home from about 1980 on. Because the machines were so new, the whole genre of "kids' videos" did not exist. So, growing up we had about 5 movies that we taped off of cable that we watched over and over again. They are: Caddyshack, Blazing Saddles, Animal House, a great compilation of Bugs Bunny cartoons that including the compressed Wagner's Ring of the Neibulung and the one where Daffy Duck gets followed around by the artist who is constantly changing the scenery behind him (very postmodern) and the original Star Wars trilogy. (Yes, I know I counted three movies as just one movie to make a total of five.) It wasn't until I got to college and started studying child psychology as part of my education degree that I realized that the first three movies on that list weren't necessarily age appropriate. But, I distinctly remember fast-forwarding through the sex scene in Caddyshack because it was slow and boring so we must have had some self-defense mechanisms built into our 5-9 year old attention spans.

However, I do think that my sense of humor is forever pointed in one direction from so much exposure Bill Murray, Mel Brooks and John Belushi.

And I like it.

However, I'm not usually very good at making movie joke references in the middle of conversations. They just don't occur to me fast enough. I can rattle off lines back and forth with someone and at one point in my life, I knew all the words to "I'm sick and tired of love / Love from below and above" but I just can't find that fine line of making a comedic allusion that includes enough information to identify the movie to my conversation partners but in such a concise way that they conversation isn't stalled while I explain the scene to those who haven't seen it. So, I don't normally try.

However, in the last few weeks, both of my attempts at this form of conversational humor have felt inspired and have been pulled off successfully.

Several weeks ago, my roommate Paige and I had a "They're Smart Enough" party to celebrate our dual acceptances into hoity-toity schools of higher learning for our graduate degrees. Although only 3% of the party's population could be idenitfied as friends of mine (and this includes my brother's friends that he invited so that he wouldn't be totally bored) the underdogs had a good time. We also had a lot of leftover sausage. So, for many days afterward, Daniel invited his friends back to hang out on the porch (now devoid of intellectuals) and eat random sausages (once out of the package, it's hard to tell whether one is getting a bratwurst, italian or anduille sausage) that had been thawed and cooked on the repeatedly-lit grill.

I really enjoy my brother's friends. They're laid-back and interesting. They also have a good sense of humor. So, I spend the time on the porch with them but am not a huge fan of sausages, so often simply watch the gastronomical proceedings. So, it was not unusual for one of them to lean over and say, "Would you like another, uh, something sausage?" I was delighted to be able to reply with almost perfect comedic timing, "No thank you; fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit."

Only one person laughed but that was enough for me.

Two weeks ago on vacation with my family, we were standing in line at the Sea Shack, the restaurant where we ate at least four, if not five of the meals of our five day trip. We were perusing the white board that list the varieties of fish that they would grill, fry or blacken for us before they served it with the most exquisite side dishes I've tasted in quite awhile. One night I have a soft shell crab, another lunch I had scallops and another I had grouper, just to give an example of the variety that was available. So, to foster conversation, my father asks my brother Paul, "What are you going to have this time?" He responds, "Flounder." Again, I'm delighted that the perfect response occurred to me as quickly as it did. I ask, "Why flounder?" I was even more delighted when both my brother Daniel and my father burped and said drunkenly, "Why not?"

Sometimes the assist is just as good as the goal.