Wednesday, November 23, 2005

flying gorillas and turkeys by the six-pack

Not that you asked, but today was my birthday. I spent it living on the edge. First I had some Wendy's for lunch, and then I went to renew my driver's license. Hell yeah. It wasn't that bad. I initially went to renew it yesterday, but I was informed that I lacked the camera card. (What's that, you might ask? I have no idea. I was never actually given one. I suspect it was a ruse to determine how serious I was about retaining my legal driving status.)

So I must know... what is it about the DMV that makes old men refer to me by anything BUT my actual name? When I first took the driver's test, I failed it. This was due in large part to me cussing out the tester guy (that and not using my turn signal while parallel parking between two cement barricades in a parking lot). It was his fault. He called me "kiddo" and "honey" and "kitten." Guess which one it was that sent me over the edge? Before I digress further...

The guy I was talking to to get my invisible camera card called me "kiddo." So what if I'm 23? It didn't offend me, but I did think it was odd that I've only been called "kiddo" twice in my life and both times were at the DMV. I was just happy not to have to wait in line for six hours. I was in and out in less than fifteen minutes. That has to be some kind of a record, or at least karma making up for the EIGHT HOURS (yes, really) I had to stand in line with my father when I was getting my license. (That, incidentally, was the day after I failed it. Apparently I have to go twice on consecutive days and get called "kiddo" in order to receive anything from the DMV.)

So after my DMV adventure--during which it started to snow!--I went to Sam's Club in Monroeville. Sam's Club annoys me. It's not that I have to play Dodge The Sample People or that they're associated with Wal-Mart or that they sell everything in ridiculously huge sizes. It's not even that every time I go there, the store has been completely rearranged, apparently by a toddler with a forklift. It's that the labels on the aisles make absolutely no sense. An aisle the length of a football field and it's labeled "sunflower seeds." Is that all there is? Ten thousand crates of sunflower seeds? Another aisle labeled "hot sauce." Perhaps "condiments" would be more fitting? We don't have "paper products" here at Sam's, but we do have several hundred tons of napkins. I was wandering the warehouse looking for the medicine--which used to be in the middle of the store, which is now occupied by some horrible holiday crap-- and going in circles until I had to ask a Sample Guy (who was apparently giving samples of some soap scum cleanser... how the fuck do you give out samples of cleanser?) where the hell it was. I don't know why I didn't check next to the meat--clearly, I have some mental deficiency.

They of course had turkeys for sale. Actually, they might have been pterodactyls, but I can't be sure. And remarkably, they were being sold on an individual basis. I was sure they'd be roped together into six-packs, or perhaps in giant Pez dispensers that gobbled each time you popped out a birdosaur. Disappointment at every turn.

This evening I went to the Southside with Mom and JK for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. Delicious. Words failed me when trying to describe how wonderful the "Bang Bang Chicken and Shrimp" truly was (which was prepared for my convenience without peanuts or bell peppers in order to let me live to see 24). JK loved his dinner, Mom loved hers, and our waiter was great. I like to kid around with... uh, everyone... and when we were ordering drinks, I spotted something called a "Flying Gorilla." It was banana everything. And while I like bananas, that didn't really appeal to me. But the name did, so I told the waiter that "I don't actually want a Flying Gorilla, I just want you to refer to whatever I get as such." Not only did he get it, but he did it. He fucking took that joke and ran with it, and I totally love him for it. We of course ordered dessert, (interestingly enough, they have more for dessert than cheesecake. Who goes to The Cheesecake Factory and doesn't get cheesecake for dessert? If you are lactose intolerant, then you can leave) and they decorated my plate with candy sprinkly things (PINK ONES) and wrote "Happy Birthday Amanda!" on the plate with chocolate sauce. They even gave me a candle and sang to me. And they sang the real Happy Birthday song, not some stupid one incorporating clapping and whistles. I hate those songs.

But really, as long as I'm not being called "kiddo," I'm good.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

she went to the blog and the blog was bare

My adoring public bitches me out when I don't write. Here's a random assortment of the things that happen in the situation comedy that is my life.

I caught a mouse last week. In a shoebox. When I released him (because I have nothing against tiny shivering field mice) he wouldn't leave. I felt bad for him, but I explained that Mom would set a trap for him and eventually, she'd get to him before I did. I hope he was an English-speaking mouse. Later, Mom was discussing my rodent catch-and-release program with one of her sisters. Said sister has a cat who likes to catch birds and small animals, eat their heads, and then bring the filet inside to parade around. Usually when they have company, and the company is eating something. So when Mom said "Guess who caught a mouse today? Amanda!" my aunt immediately started laughing so hard I could hear her through the phone (I wasn't even in the same ROOM as the phone) because she envisioned me with a little tail sticking out of my mouth. I'm not sure if I was purring in her mental image or not. I should ask.

I went on a Fantastic Voyage to Alexandria to get my grandmother, Mo, for a visit. I always enjoy spending time with her, and we've been having a good time. However, she must have been talking with one of my uncles (who suspects that I am gay because of my tendency to display nude women and giant flowers in the art I hang up... which is a rather astute assessment on his part) because she's brought up the topic of homosexuality five times since I arrived at her apartment. (She is not homophobic in the least, so don't get the wrong idea.) Here are a few things she's said to me. Bear in mind that these were completely non-sequitur. I'd be talking about grapefruit and then she'd come out with one of these:

"I worked with a lot of gay men at the State Department and at GSA, but to my knowledge I never knew a lesbian at work."

"Two of my neighbors--in fact, the men who lived on either side of me, at one point--were gay and they couldn't have been nicer. I remember once the one man told me that if I ever needed a ride anywhere, no matter the hour, to call him and he'd be happy to come get me. I always thought that was so considerate. A straight man would never offer that to his old lady neighbor."

(Emily is one of my aunts/my grandmother's youngest daughter. Emily's 12-yr-old daughter is Rachel. They have a dog walking service that they run together, and occasionally their wealthier clients have Emily and Rachel house-and-dog-sit while they're out of town.)
"The couple whose dog Emily is watching now have the most beautiful home. Actually, they're a lesbian couple. One worked for the government and I forget what the other one did, but they're striking women. And very nice. They travel a lot now that they're both retired. Emily stays over in their house the whole time they're gone."

"A friend of mine once asked me if I'd ever get married again, and I told her I'd sooner have a wife than a husband. Someone to cook and clean and go shopping and pay the bills--that'd just be lovely."

(Tony is my uncle/her son-in-law.)
"Tony once mentioned to me that in all the artwork in my house, if there is a human subject, it's a woman or girl. There isn't one painting of a man or boy anywhere. And I never noticed that before, but he's absolutely right."
And I said, "I guess that's just what appeals to you."
She said, "Well, I don't like women in that way, but yes, that's about right. I do like men. I just don't want to be married to one."

Either my grandma is a closet lesbian, or she and Tony have compared notes. (Interesting that we call her Mo...)

I visited my darling wife, Cindy, before I went to Alexandria to pick up Mo. We had a fabulous time--ate some good food, drank some good Guinness and cider, read a horrible thesis... we had plenty of laughs and a few exasperated sighs. I'm going to start sending things to publishers--I'm disgusted enough with what happened that rejection isn't going to hurt me. I actually feel better now that I've read it. Because now I know, and I'm that much more convinced that I am ready to publish.

In the movie "Big Fish" the father character often says that the only way to catch an uncatchable woman is to offer her a wedding ring. Just a reminder--that movie is a fantasy. I am not for sale.

The night before the elections last week, the Democratic candidate for Mayor of the city of Pittsburgh (for those of you who are not Pgh natives, there's the city, and then there are ten thousand little towns and boroughs that are separate from the city, and yet still considered to be ostensibly part of the city in a more theoretical sense) helped chase down a purse-snatcher. A Republican candidate for another position (it wasn't nearly as important as the mayor of the city--something like a city council seat, or mayor of a small borough. I don't care enough to look it up) spent the night in jail after he threatened his neighbors with a gun. Doesn't that warm your heart?

I hope you all feel updated--I'll let you know if I catch Mo watching Logo while she's here. Right now she's watching women's tennis. I'll allow you to draw your own conclusions from that.