Tuesday, February 27, 2007

as in dollars? and cents?

So I went to the post office today to overnight my application to Bennington. Because February is stupid and only hath 28 days except in leap years, which 2007 isn't, and March 1 comes sooner than it seems like it should. I'd initally gone to the post office to mail this application on Saturday in what I consider morning-time. Apparently not everyone considers 1:45 to be so early in the day, though. Apparently they consider that to be 45 minutes after closing time.

I wound up going to the post office before work today. I had a feeling the place would be packed with old people. Probably because it's always full of old people. (Because it's in Turtle Creek, also known as the Least Happy Place On Earth.) Somehow I managed to beat the 12 random old people who each wanted to buy exactly five stamps. I just had to stand behind the one guy mailing 37 things that need to be stamped individually with specific instructions. And this dude SPRINTED into the builing because he saw me coming. With my one envelope. Dick. I spent the whole time his 37 pieces of mail were being stamped thinking of a way to remove some of his hair so he could wake up to Voodoo Surprise tomorrow. When I finally got to the counter, I said, "I need to overnight this." The guy behind the counter, whose name was Bob, looked at me guiltily--almost afraid, really.

"Do you know how much it costs?"
"Not nearly as much as spending the rest of my life in this pothole we call a town," I did not say. "No. How much is it?" I said.
He sighed and then whispered, "It's...$14.40."
"As in dollars? And cents?" I also did not say. "That's fine," I said.

I filled out a form, signed my name three times, and my application will be in someone's hands in Bennington guaranteed by Wednesday. And all because I'm willing to let my children go hungry for another night. According to Bob.

What kind of financial hardship do I look like I'm under that $14 would be such a stretch? If I'm overnighting something, obviously it's important. I don't overnight birthday cards. To college admissions offices. Seriously, Bob. What the hell. I know I'm in a post office in Turtle Creek in what is apparently the middle of the day to people who get up before noon, but I can't look like I'm so pathetic that I will balk at sending my important mail if it's a whopping $14.

There's no place like anywhere but here. There's no place like anywhere but here.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

do my incisors look large to you?

I have a theory. It would be easier for most people to admit to being a werewolf than to having eaten McDonald's for dinner. I base this theory on extensive research in my car tonight eating dinner cloaked in a fog of shame. Also in a much less metaphoric, literal fog outside the car. But mostly the shame fog.

It was probably the fog that made me feel like I was doing something terribly wrong, combined with the fact that I was doing something bad. So I parked over in the Sad Loser section of the parking lot. (If you're wondering, it's over by the trees. Because trees don't judge. Or talk.)

Appropriate parking is Step One in eating McDonald's for dinner in your car. The next step is to straw your drink and eat some french fries. I don't know how McDonald's makes their fries so good, and I probably don't want to know, either. But I do know that they are so good, eating a handful or three before chowing down on your sandwich of choice is so good it's like foreplay.

Then you look around, sending out "don't park next to me -- I will bite you" vibes to all the cars that go by. Then you unwrap the sandwich, your pupils dilate, your eyes glaze over, and you are temporarily insane until you've finished. A lapse in memory is not uncommon. When you're done, all that's left is a wrapper, maybe some lettuce carnage, and a smear of condiment down one side of your mouth. And the sinful, intoxicating smell on your hands that no soap can remove. Only time erases a Big Mac.

As I shoved the empty cup into the bag of trash I later smuggled into my office building like a ticking bomb, I wondered if being a werewolf would be not only easier to admit, but more socially acceptable.

No one would ask questions if every night I disappeared, only to reappear a half-hour later, hair matted, clothes disheveled, fingernails caked in grime, bits of fur between my teeth. Granted, that's mostly because no one would notice, but really, how do you begin that conversation? You'd just talk around it, like weight gain and bruises.

Only when I began giving out lucky rabbit's feet for every gift occasion AND as contributions to pot luck dinners would someone consider saying something. Then they'd decide against it, figuring ritualistic bunny slaughter is some weird Scandinavian tradition. You can do anything you want as long as you say it's a tradition vaguely related to your lineage. Sweden has an entire holiday celebrated by putting lit candles on your head. (Or, more specifically, the oldest daughter, which I am in my family.) If I showed up to work on December 13th with candles on my head, it would have been a charming cross-cultural experience. If I put candles on my head on December 14th, though, it'd be "lock her the fuck up."

Similarly, if I showed up at work with Big Mac sauce on my face, it'd be much less socially acceptable than if I walked in holding the severed head of a deer. Especially because around here, those are up on 3 out of 4 walls.