One-fifth of the writing staff thought I wear glasses.
For almost four months now, I’ve been living a bit of a double life. It was a secret at first, mostly because I didn’t want to talk about it, I wanted to just do it. Plus, a lot of people weren’t going to understand. They were going to judge me. Not that I care about that, I mean, not too much. But I didn’t want to be a poseur. I wanted to wait until I knew I was really in it. Until I was sure.
I’m not the only one who does it, and from what I understand, more and more women are doing it every day. I wanted it to be just mine, just for a little while. But people have been asking me to write about it, and as much as I liked having this secret, it’s time for me to go public, because it’s about to become very public, whether I like it or not. Continue reading
So, I meant to tell you. I was walking home the other day, and I saw this really beautiful person that looked like you.
Oh. Oh, well, that’s nice.
Yeah, I think I was texting or something, so I didn’t notice until I was like, six inches away, and that’s what I saw. The eyes. The eyes were just like yours, and I thought of you. Beautiful eyes.
But it was a dude.
And he had bigger lips than you. And more hair.
What? He was stunning. But, you know, stunning as a dude. So maybe you should think about it.
Is this not a compliment, in any way?
Why not? He was beautiful. And he had your complexion. And your eyes. That’s what made me think of you. He had your eyes. But his hair was puffier.
And blonder. He looked more innocent than you do, but that’s probably just because he was way younger.
And we’re done here.
Where are you going?
To go find the male version of you.
I have had a rough time lately. Consequently, my shoulders have been resting pretty much at my earlobes twenty-four seven. So on my way home today, I decided to treat myself to a massage. It turned out to be more than the soothing Swedish touch I was expecting.
Shortly after it began I did that thing where I worry the massage won’t be as hard as I need it to be, and will feel like someone kind of making sure my skin got stroked instead of my muscles worked. “You can go a little harder,” I said.
She chuckled. “First five minutes, warm-up,” she said. You guys, she wasn’t kidding.
Five minutes later, I’m sweating. “Yo,” I involuntarily say as she’s got her elbow jammed under my scapula. “That is intense.”
“Yes,” she says, not letting up. “Yes, um-hmm.” Continue reading
A few weeks ago I’m walking down Pico, headed toward a Starbucks, when this woman walks up beside me, asking a mailman if he’s got Triple A Plus. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Los Angeles, this means I’ve seen this woman in three different areas that are not close to each other at all. Well, it’s really about five miles, but by Los Angeles standards that’s quite a distance. Nobody walks to Pico from the Arclight! She’s got to have this city mapped out, with shifts in certain areas. I wonder how much she makes a day. And maybe she really does drive a car that she fits with a boot.
But how many times am I going to run into her in different locations in Los Angeles? Is it supposed to mean something? Are she and I supposed to go on a road trip together, or something?
The summer before college, UT has a freshman orientation. You go live in Jester dorm for a couple of days and get used to the campus, figure out how to register using TEX, and decide what kind of classes you want to take. You also make your first group of friends, so that on your first day you don’t climb the tower. You actually know someone’s first name.
I’ve forgotten the name of my Freshman Orientation advisor, but I’ve never forgotten her face. I think her name was Alex, but I’m not sure. Alex was very cool in a Janeane Garofalo way, and in fact looked a lot like her. She was warm and friendly and really funny and I thought it was very nice of her to tell us about UT and hang out with us. I mean, she was paid to do it and it was her job, but it was still nice of her to do it in a way that wasn’t snotty. She told me she volunteered at the Health Center, answering phones to set appointments. She also worked on the Cactus, UT’s Yearbook, and since I had just finished a two-year high school yearbook stint, assistant editor for my senior year, Alex asked if I’d be interested in joining the Cactus when I got to school. After all, the office was right next to my dorm. And I’d be in an actual group, meeting more people! So, I signed up for Yearbook.
Yeah. Double major in Drama and deaf education, yearbook staff, Toad the Wet Sprocket t-shirt, living in a freshman girls’ dorm, knowing absolutely nobody, I was all set to rule the school.
My schedule — both school and rehearsal — quickly dictated that Yearbook was never gonna happen. Never. I think I went to one meeting and never returned. I didn’t see Alex, and figured she’d faded away.
I had a steady boyfriend who was driving up from Katy almost every weekend to see me. And with the schedule I was under, the course load, everything going on at once, pretty soon I got sick, and then took some antibiotics, and then, well, I ended up having to call the health center.
“Hi. Um… this is… um, I think I need to see a nurse. I mean, a gynecologist.”
“Well, no, I know. I mean, I should. I need to.”
“Is this an emergency?”
“Well, it’s like… um… well, I’m sort of itchy, and like, sex really hurts. Like, a lot. But I only started having sex, so I really don’t know, and maybe it’s because sex just hurts, but this is like a different kind of… hurt… so… and the itching… but I’m not sick, it’s like… something’s wrong.”
And then, after a really long silence, I hear, “Pam?”
“Yeah, I thought that was you.”
I knew the voice was familiar. That semi-Janeane sound. “Oh. Heh.”
“Yeah, so let’s get you in here, pronto.”
“Okay. I kind of want to kill myself now.”
“I think you’ve got your first yeast infection.”
She was right. [And screw you on the TMI. I’ve had to live with this for years. You can suffer through it for a minute.]
So. Years pass. I see Alex every once in a while, walking through the west mall. I’d wave, she’d wave back.
Two years ago, or maybe three. I’m not sure, it was a little while ago. I’m standing in line at the Los Feliz Three to get movie tickets, and standing next to me, purchasing her own tickets, is Alex.
And this is when I do my thing so spectacularly it takes your breath away.
“Hi! Oh, you don’t remember me.”
“I’m sorry. Do I…”
“UT! We went to UT, and you were my orientation advisor, and then I bailed on you at the yearbook, but then you totally diagnosed my yeast infection!”
“How ARE you?”
“I’m fine.” She, at this moment, understandably takes a few steps back.
“Do you live around here? That’s so crazy. So do I!”
“I live, you know, around.”
“Gosh, so many Texans here.”
“Yes. Well, it was great seeing you.” [understood: “YOU CRAZY PERSON.”]
So. Last month. I’m tutoring at a high school in Silverlake. We’re in the teacher’s lounge between classes getting a cup of coffee when… Alex walks right past me to go sit at her own table of teachers. And all I could think was, “Of course you work here.”
I mumbled out this humiliating story to the girl sitting with me. “You should totally go talk to her!” she said.
“Are you kidding me? She will file a restraining order.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right. You would think she’d remember you, with all the things that happened to you two.”
“I think the moments were always more monumental for me than they were for her. It was my freshman orientation. My fears and anxieties. My… yeast infection.”
“Look, she’s sitting with a guy wearing a UT hat.”
“I’m going to sit on my hands, now. Please don’t let me go over there.”
This UT instinct, this absolute need to bond over the city of Austin and all things Bevo, I can’t really explain it, but I want you to know that it happens no matter what.
Last Sunday night I was the Fiona to Dan’s PTA as I accompanied him to the Writer’s Guild Awards, where he was being honored for his heroic strike efforts. We sat at a table with a lovely view of the stage, and Dan sat between me and his editing partner Greg, a man who grew up in Austin and also went to UT.
So, Morgan Freeman’s on stage, and he’s delivering a speech introducing someone who’s about to get a lifetime achievement award. And I’m thinking to myself, “Wow. I’m at my first black tie event. It’s an awards ceremony, for a guild I’m a part of. And everybody’s so pretty. And look! We’re right next to the table for The Office. And Dan and I look like prom dates.”
And this is when Morgan Freeman said, “… and he attended both The University of Texas and Columbia…”
I don’t know what he said after that. Because as Greg started clapping, I threw the hook ’em sign and went, “WOOOO!”
And this is when all of the room, including Morgan friggin’ Freeman, turned to look at me. And as Dan’s head dropped to his chest, I turned to him and immediately stammered, “You know I can’t help it and I didn’t mean to do that and it’s some kind of instinct in my gut or something because I would never do that normally and I don’t know what happens to me when someone says Austin and ohmygodi’msosorry.”
And Dan said, “Oh, I know you can’t help it. Trust me. Believe me. I know you have no control over that at all.”
I can’t keep concluding every essay I write on this site about how I shouldn’t leave the house, but come on. What else can I say after all of that?
“But why do you want to do this?” my mom asked in that tone, the worried whine of motherhood.
“For a lot of reasons,” I answered. “Because I want to, and because I don’t think I can, and… well, probably because Dad and that race when I was in the third grade.”
She sighed. She remembered.
I don’t know if I wrote about this before. Probably. Yep. I totally did. It’s worth reading, because it explains things a little.
“Just be careful out there,” Mom said. “Don’t hurt yourself.”
“Mom, it’s 26.2 miles. It’s going to hurt.”
More sighing. “Good luck.” Continue reading
I’m not a Fergie fan. To the point where when someone mentioned that Fergie had an album coming out, I was skeptical that Americans would be interested in listening to an album by British Weight Watchers royalty.
The first time someone told me about Fergie’s new song, that is exactly what I said back. “How did this happen? Is it a novelty song?”
After a five-second pause, the friend gave me some seriously sad eyebrows and said, “From the Black Eyed Peas?” Continue reading
Yesterday I made a list of people I needed to call to schedule appointments. At the top of the list: allergist. Mom called yesterday morning and said, “Have you seen the wheat doctor yet? I really want you to be able to eat bread again.” I think the next time I come to town, she’d like to be able to serve “normal food” again. It’s very difficult to eat like a proper Polish girl without pierogies. Also, I don’t like life as much without pierogies. Continue reading
I’m covered in bruises.
Not little tiny ones, but the kind where people grab my wrist and go, “Oh, my God. What happened to you?” It started with just a couple, but now there’s a rather large one on the inside of my left elbow that’s getting uglier every day, and one on top of my left forearm that actually hurts. This morning stee pointed out little ones along the back of my left arm. There’s a scratch on the inside of my right arm. I don’t know where it came from. Continue reading
A moment from last month. Continue reading