Tuesday, September 26, 2006

stories like these are why this blog has a sub-title

So I was coming home from work yesterday, and when I scheduled myself to work till 5:00 PM, I made the mistake of forgetting there was a game. A home game.

So I was stuck in Squirrel Hill Tunnel traffic coming home around 6 PM and there was this big van full of boys...I'll be generous and say they were in college. Or perhaps some sort of institution. So they see me in the lane next to them, and one of them sends out the "check her out" signal and they all press themselves up against the glass like little monkeys. So they keep winding up just in front of me as the lanes seesaw back and forth, advancing toward the tunnel, and one of them presses this piece of paper up against the window that says "PLEASE CALL ME!!" with his phone number on it underneath and he starts gesturing at himself. I start laughing -- because honestly, what the hell -- and then my phone starts ringing. So I reach in my bag and pull out my phone, and he starts bouncing up and down and they're all going "NUH-AWW!!" at him or whatever it is little monkey boys say to each other, and meanwhile I'm talking to my brother. Just as well. It was probably an outing for America's Youngest Glaucoma Patients.

This happened last week. I was alone at home standing by the window, just enjoying the breeze. Now, our neighbor's house is close. Not so close that I could touch it just by leaning out the window, but if I were on the roof, I might be able to jump onto their house, assuming that I could get onto the roof, could get a running start, and wanted to wind up on a Vonage commercial.

Anyway, I saw this bottle of Spic N Span sitting on their window ledge. So I start yelling, "Don't do it! You have so much to live for! Formula 409 is on her way over, and I just know you two can work it out!" And I went on and on, because I'm always freaking like this, even when I'm alone. So I'm making myself crack up at my own sheer hilarity, and then I hear the neighbor's car start.

Good times.

And finally, the family across the street is moving. My brother used to fuck their daughter, and after that ended, they all decided they're afraid of us or something. They won't make eye contact with us. I pretend not to know what's going on an I have long conversations with them even as they fail to acknowledge that I am talking to them. After this latest episode, I'm going to start describing bowel movements at length. Mine, my family's, people at work, diapers I've changed, and just in general. Possibly while they're having an open house. Possibly inside it.

The bastards filed a complaint with the borough about the little patch of Queen Anne's Lace (which is a wildflower) growing next to our driveway. Now, I know what overgrown weeds look like. This was a little patch of flowers. And so the borough sends my mother a bunch of letters in the mail (actually, it was the same letter twice because apparently Forrest Gump runs the Forest Hills borough) telling her that if she didn't remove said "weeds on hillside" that were "in excess of 10 inches" then she would have charges filed against her with the possibility of a several-thousand-dollar fine, jail time, or both. Meanwhile, by the time the letter came in the mail, my mother had already pulled up everything that was growing there. The whole handful.

Now, what makes this extra-hilarious is that the fucking police had to come out and take notice of our little patch of renegade flowers before they could send us this bullshit in the mail. About three years ago, one of their fellow officers was shot by some drug dealer not a half a mile from our house. The guy hid in a patch of four trees and somehow got away even with every police officer in the greater Pittsburgh area on his ass. So until they find the guy who shot their buddy, I won't be taking them very seriously. They've gotten nowhere -- they just act really suspicious of normal people now, like when my brother got pulled over in the spring and the cop acted like he would have no possible reason to have a jack in his car. Apparently the Forest Hills police department uses the same amazing mental super-powers to change tires as they do to solve crime.

Someone had to report our terrorist wildflowers, and as mom said, "I'd bet a pint of my own blood that it was them, because who else but someone selling their house would give two shits about some fucking wildflowers in someone else's yard?" (Mom and I share the same delicate constitution.)

So far, our vengeance has been limited to having loud conversations in the front yard. Here's the one we had last night.




(See what I mean about our delicate nature?)

I'm sure that this is going to turn into the Wildflower Chronicles. I'll keep you all posted, since not all of you live close enough to read about it in the paper.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

higher learning will never be the same

I'm going to look like one of the students and no one is going to know who I am until I start passing out papers and writing on the chalkboard. Then again, I thought Bob Day* was a farmer auditing my Chekhov class, so maybe there's something to be said for looking like an imposter.

What you might have guessed by now is that I'm finally doing it. I am applying to grad school.

Well, okay, not really. I've got a big list of possible places (I think about 14) and I'm looking through them and choosing where I want to apply, because I can't afford to apply everywhere with application fees running as high as $75 for some schools. But this is the price I guess I literally have to pay for the schools I have on my list. Warren Wilson. Goddard. Bennington. Fairleigh Dickinson.

Dear god, I'm going to go down in flames.

That's not true. Though it might amaze some of you to know, I do write serious things. Painfully serious things. They're not very long.

I like poetry for its economy of language. I think that's because concentrating on brevity means I only have to think seriously for a short time. (Know thyself and all that.)

After I get my MFA, I'll be all ready to teach. Or so the theory goes. Knowing me, I'll get a post-MFA teaching certificate. If I can overeducate myself, I will. After I've sufficiently stuffed my head full, I'll be moving...somewhere. New England, maybe. A lot of the schools I'm interested in are in New England, but since I'm doing a low-residency program, I'll still be here in Pittsburgh full-time and traveling there twice a year for about a week at the start of each semester. Even two weeks a year in New England is exciting to me. (Don't worry -- I will never, ever root for the Patriots. They could be playing the Cowboys and I wouldn't root for them. Hell, they could play the Browns and I wouldn't root for them. How could I? I'd already be so busy trying to light the stadium on fire.)

I think it's safe to say that my future students, who are probably freshmen or sophomores in high school right now (assuming it doesn't take me years and years to find some college somewhere that will hire me) should probably start drinking now. Some of the schools require that I teach a course -- not just a single class, mind you, but an actual course -- before I graduate. I'd say that everyone in Pittsburgh should start drinking now, but football season has already begun.

*Bob Day was a professor of mine in college. My goal in life is to be just like him, but with less Jack Daniels, as I prefer vodka.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

this is what i get for never streaking on may day

Almost 20 years. That's how long it lasted. 19 years and just shy of 8 months. And now it's gone. That was how long I went without ever having to say, "Today, my brother saw me naked."

I was getting ready to take a shower this afternoon. I started the water, took off my pajamas, and I was standing there cleaning my ears and waiting for the water to warm up when I heard a tiny clink in the dining room. I knew that sound -- it was keys on the table. A silhouette immediately appeared. I swung the door shut. "Sorry," I called, trying not to sound like I was wishing my head would just explode, "I didn't realize you were coming home so soon." I knew he was coming home to to laundry, but I didn't expect that it would be in the afternoon. Obviously, or I wouldn't have had my kibbles and bits on display.

The whole time I was in the shower, I tried to come up with various ways in which it didn't actually happen. I'd imagined him. It was really a robber who likes to drop keys on the table before he robs a place. He was struck hysterically blind. He was engaged in a tantric blink and his eyes had been closed the whole time. But eventually, I had to get out of the shower. He was in the basement when I came out, my robe knotted in several places.

"Dude. Sorry about that."
"I don't care. I've seen Papa naked."

Of course he has. Everyone has seen our father naked. People who don't even know him have seen him naked. (That is not hyperbole.) I used to have to remind him to put pants on when my friends would visit. And by used to, I mean in 2004. Interesting note -- I haven't lived with him since 2003.

So, that was that. Almost two decades -- it was a good run, but all good things have to come to an end eventually. I don't see why, but this is what I've been told, usually after some analagous catastrophe. Whatever, I've changed his diapers. Somewhat less recently than 2004, though.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

at least the pro-lifers are leaving me alone

MySpace would be fabulous if it were not for:

- PeoPLe wHo tyPE lIkE ThiS. Although it does make it extra-easy to spot idiots.
- The following pieces of punctuation did not exist: ~ and *
- Everyone was required to show proof of age before joining.
- People didn't believe hoax bulletins about a MySpace tax or getting your profile deleted or that 200 virgins will meet you in heaven if you -- wait, that last one is fundamental Islam.
- Random losers didn't message me every day. What the fuck -- I finally put up an actual picture of myself (not even a GOOD one) and now I get at least one message a day from a stranger. Stranger emails don't bother me. It's that none of them are even barely coherent. If I see "holla atcha boy" one more fucking time, I'm going to stab somebody.
- Couples didn't assume I want to be their chew toy simply because I am bisexual. Okay, so this isn't limited to MySpace, but I get more messages like "Hey my gurl and me was lookin 4 a bi chick to kick it wit an we saw ur pic check out our pics an holla back" on MySpace than anywhere else. In fact, that's the only place.
- No one put songs on their profile and Fred Phelps was in little bits in somebody's compost heap. That second one is just a general statement, though.

Friday, September 01, 2006

fuck the park service!

If you've seen "Grizzly Man," then you'll find this snort-worthy.

If you haven't seen "Grizzly Man," go turn on the Discovery Channel and wait for it to be on again in a 9-hour block.