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In 2008, I was promoted to a new job as a Quality Monitor.  Part of my new responsibilities were taking over the Electronic Library.  It was a strange, hectic time (see this search for posts that relate to the hectic).  In the past, it was something that I loved but, over the years, it became frustrating because I was constantly overwhelmed.  But yet, it was still something I enjoyed.  I had a love/hate relationship with that aspect of my job and, throughout the years, it became harder and harder to remain positive.  During the last year, I had to seriously defend the work I was doing.  I was threatened with the fact that if I didn’t get better time management skills, I’d lose that part of my job.  Even though I was doing more work than anyone else on my team, I was being penalized.  So I made the adjustments, I got better at time management and then I was doing even more work.  I’ve been stressed out, I’ve felt like a complete and total failure, and then I was finally proud of myself for getting things under control. And then everything changed.  Long story short, I’ve been preparing myself for the fact that someday I might lose this.  Something I referred to as my baby was going to be taken away from me.

Today my manager asked me to meet with her.  Going forward, I’m no longer involved with the Electronic Library except as a back up.

Part of me is completely devastated.  The other part of me is relieved and glad I don’t have to deal with something I was no longer proud to put my name on.  Part of me is waiting for the entire thing to self-destruct without me and I will laugh.

I am so very conflicted right now.


Adventures with the ENT

Remember how, back on August 3rd, I said I had an ear infection?  Yeah.  I still have an ear infection.  On the 10th, I got to go to see an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor and wow, let me tell you, that was fun.  Yes, that is sarcasm.

Let’s discuss the excitement of the day, shall we?  Warning, I may or may not have exaggerated a tad.

  • I wake up.  I have a headache.  My ear is throbbing and full of liquid and I can’t hear out of it.
  • What do I do for a living?  Oh, right, I listen to phone calls and monitor them for quality purposes.  Really kind of important that I can hear.
  • I call in sick and go back to bed.
  • I am convinced my doctor appointment is on one side of downtown Saint Paul (near where the old Science Museum used to be) but decide to take a cab instead of walking.
  • Turns out the appointment is near the new Science Museum.  Good thing I decided to take the cab.
  • I fill out the forms and sit in the waiting room.  There is some guy who keeps staring at me.  Why is he staring at me?  This is weird.  Stop it.
  • There is a guy next to me who keeps making these snorting noises.  It’s kind of gross.
  • Weird guy is still staring.  Would hitting him with my book be considered assault?  Probably.  I don’t do it.
  • I am called into the back and meet my nurse person.  She looks at my ear and asks me some questions.  All perfectly normal.
  • ENT guy comes in.  “Hi, Dana.  How are you?  Let me take a look at your ear.”
  • Yep.  I have an ear infection.  Actually, apparently I have an “angry eardrum” and it is very thick and there are air bubbles behind the ear drum.  Oh, wow.  That’s really kind of gross.
  • I get to have a hearing test.  My hearing is not so good in the left ear.  That’s a shock.  But he thinks it will clear up.  Here’s my problem with this test.  When you put earphones on my head and talk into my ear, I can hear you.  I may not be able to hear everything you say but I can actually hear you.  You’re talking in my ear!  I don’t think that’s a completely effective hearing test.  Where’s the hearing test that takes place in the crowded bar or at the movie theater when I’m trying to figure out what people are saying?  How come I can hear better if I’m facing someone or if there are subtitles?  Explain that!
  • Apparently I have residual anger towards people who do hearing tests.
  • Then it is back to see ENT guy.  “Here’s what we’re going to do, Dana.  I’m going to stick this really sharp thing into your ear and slice your ear drum.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?”  Uh, no.  But if it works, I will be thrilled to death.
  • He pours this numbing solution into my ear.  He warns me that it will burn.  I am almost ready to ask if he can just put me out so I don’t have to deal with it but too late, stuff is slithering through my ear.
  • Burn is not the word I would use for this.  I would say “Mother-effing lava.”
  • Then he slices the ear drum.  Now my ear is filled with lava and the pain.  The sharp, horrible pain that will not end.
  • The liquid decides not to drain.  Why would it?  It likes my ear.  No, apparently it is too thick.
  • Happy ENT guy says “Okay, Dana.  Now we get to have lots of fun!  I get my kicks from torturing innocent people.  Some days I dress up like a clown!  Let’s shove a tube into this slice I just made so your ear drum won’t close up.  Look, it’s a really tiny tube.  It’ll be just fine.”
  • Uh, no, it was not just fine.  It was awful.  I am not ashamed to say that I cried like a baby when he rammed that thing in there.  It, of course, didn’t want to fit so there was some shoving and more sharp pain and more tears and oh, my God, this is not right.
  • I have finally found something I hate more than going to the dentist.  I hate going to the dentist so much that if I had a choice between a Pap smear every day for the rest of my life or getting my teeth cleaned, I would pick the Pap smear.  Do you know how demoralizing it is to realize that getting your teeth cleaned is actually a walk in the park compared to this?
  • As I walk out of the waiting room, tears still drying on my cheeks, I see that weird guy is still there.  Still staring.  As I leave, he follows me.  Oh, great.  I’m going to get murdered.  Well, that’ll be perfect.
  • Weird guy actually doesn’t follow me out of the office.  Apparently he was called into the back and I’m just slightly paranoid.

So that’s it.  Basically I paid a complete stranger $20 to slice my ear drum open and shove a tube in it.  And the infection’s still there.  I’m afraid to see what he’ll do on Friday when I have to go back.

I also have formed a theory.  Maybe Vincent Van Gogh wasn’t insane.  Maybe he just had an ear infection and the pain was so much he decided to just cut the ear off because that would be easier.  It could have been a radical new surgery process.  I am tempted to try it but Beth and Kim say no.  They also vetoed my using a tweezers to yank the tube out of my ear as well.  Sigh.  They are so very pratical.

GASP!  Facebook Drama!  Film at 11!

I love Facebook.  I really do.  I love the little quizzes and the games and catching up with family and friends.  I also enjoy crafting my status messages/comments to be funny or wry or amusing.  I like making people laugh.

However, sometimes you need to be careful.  One of my family members, John Doe*, took a Facebook quiz to find out how likely he was to go to jail.  It was 39%.  The little quiz result also said something along the lines of “You must have done a more serious crime because they don’t toss you in there for smuggling a lollipop out of the candy store.  Concentrate on positive things like using a hammer, toothpick and a piece of string to escape.”

*I know he’s related to me but I didn’t know how.  Name changed to protect him (and me).

This amused me.  There’s nothing serious about this, right?  Facebook is a social networking site, not a Nobel Prize winning think tank.  Especially when you think of the extremely horrible grammar in many of these quizzes.

So I leave a cute little comment.  Or at least I thought it was cute.

Dana Marie Vittum:  Hmm.  This worries me.  I have a hardened criminal for a relative!  But hey, having MacGyvver-like skills is nothing to sneeze at.

This morning, I am reading my news feeds and see there’s a comment after mine.

Parent Smith:  I am the proud parent of that criminal – back off.  You have other family members that are much worse to worry about.  “Judge not lest ye be judged.”

Um.  The words “WTF” came to mind.  She honestly thought was serious?  Really?  Oh, no!

I leave another comment.

Dana Marie Vittum:  John, if I offended you or your parent, I apologize.  I meant this as a joke, not a judgment.  I certainly do not think a Facebook quiz is an accurate assessment of someone’s criminal behavior.

So I am, of course, obsessing over this.  Am I a horrible person?  Is John going to hate me forever?  I am talking to Co-workers Rykken, Christy and Jessica about this today.

Christy:  Who is he?
DM:  Um, I have no idea.  I know we’re related, I just don’t know how.  He’s probably a cousin.  Or maybe a nephew.

I look up the information.  Yep.  He’s a nephew.  His parent is a former in-law.  That might account for the mysterious comment about worrying about my other relatives.  There may be some bitterness involved.  But part of me is still feeling guilty.

Do you think I’m a horrible person?  Would you have thought my comment was serious?  Should I have ended my comment with “J/K” or “LOL” or an emoticon so I don’t end up being burned in effigy later?

Updated – she did apologize for over-reacting.  We are okay.  I am glad about that.

Next week I am on vacation.  Keem and I are journeying to the wilds of Wisconsin to spend time with my mother, Kari and Josh.  It will be fun and exciting.  I’m not sure if I mean that or if that’s sarcasm.  My mother makes me a little crazy.  Not Vincent Van Gogh crazy.  Yet.

So I thought I had money to do some Christmas shopping this paycheck. Turns out I forgot about the cable bill. I always forget about the cable bill. It’s 212.50 and covers cable, internet and the phone and my God, that’s really exprensive. We probably don’t need all the stations we have but it is our only luxury so we’re keeping it. For now. Plus, right now I am listening to The Eagles singing “Those Shoes” on Comcast’s music channels. Love classic rock.

Because I am short on money, I’m not going to Rob and Betty’s on Christmas Eve because I can’t afford to buy them a gift.* Plus Keem isn’t going home for Christmas so we’re going to have a nice dinner and I might try to make a creme brulee. I got a creme brulee kit thing a few months back when Linen and Things first started closing their stores. It is my favorite dessert and I can’t wait to try it out.

*I know they wouldn’t care but I still feel bad about it.

Plus I have got to get my happy pills prescription refilled. This is not a good time of the year to run out of pills, especially with the suckiness of the economy. But there’s another 25 bucks I am going to have to scrounge up from somewhere.

Oh well, in just 3 more payments, the lap top will be paid off and I can actually have some extra money again.

Anyway, here are pictures of the children. Well, mainly Kalli doing her best to destroy the household.

<Kalli watches Dungeons and Dragons

Kalli will sometimes stop tearing around the apartment and stare at the television. Keem and I were watching “Dungeons and Dragons” last month and Kalli was fascinated. Especially by the dragons.

As much as I sometimes think about throwing her away...

I did not throw her away, even though sometimes we think about it. She is kind of a pain.

Must be in everything

Yes. That is a cat in our junk drawer.

Must have ice.  Give me ice.

I mentioned she has an addition for ice, right? She is constantly trying to get into our glasses and it is normal to come out in the morning and find the glasses on the floor.

Eddy eats his hidden treats

The only way that Eddy gets treats is if we hide them from Kalli. We have to distract her with her own treats (which she typically will only eat if they are scattered on the coffee table. She has to stalk them and then knock them onto the floor. She’s weird).

Fat cat on hat

We bought the cats these crinkly bag toys – one is a tree and the other is a hat. Eddy loves to lie on them since he doesn’t fit inside them. They are so spoiled.

Meer cat in freezer

As you can see, our freezer is fairly full but can still hold a kitten. This is her meet cat pose. Any time I go to get ice, she has to be there. Climbing all over the place and trying to dive into the glasses. How many people do you know that have to say “Cat, get out of the freezer.”

And now, the many reasons why we aren’t having a Christmas tree this year.

How to amuse a cat

Here she has found the tree. Eddy likes to lie under the tree and pretend he is a present so we were hoping this was going to be the most she did. Ha.

Our new ornament

Nope. Got to pretend she’s an ornament.


Unplugging it didn’t fool her. She knew it was still there.

Why do I climb?  Because it's there.

And this is when she discovered she could climb the tree to get to the DVD rack and go from there to the bookshelf and the entertainment center.

It is 6:32 AM. Instead of lying in my cozy bed, hitting the snooze button repeatedly, I am in the living room. Do you know why I am in the living room? Because at 6 AM, keem woke me up to tell me there was water pouring from the light fixture in her bathroom.

The water has stopped but we are waiting for the engineer to come and do something. Not sure what. But neither Keem or I want to take a shower now because you just know that is when someone will come pounding on the door.

Right now Keem is sitting on the couch and Kalli is attacking her. This is what I am hearing:

“Ow. Ow. Ow. No. Not the fingers. Ow. Obviously you do not understand the language of Ow.”

She (the kitten, not Keem) is insane. Eddy, who is an intelligent water-fearing cat, stayed far away from the bathroom during the water catastrophe. Kalli was inside it. Staring at the water with fascination. She is also obsessed with ice cubes and has climbed inside of the freezer several times to get closer to them when I’m filling my glass.

I am really tired and want to go to bed. Seems to me you should be handed a “get-out-of-work-free” pass on days like this.

Oh, the engineer just called. Apparently the idiots who live upstairs forgot to put the shower curtain inside of the bath tub. Brilliant.

I’d love to say I’m going back to bed but unfortunately I need to guard Keem against the possibility of the engineer walking in on her while she’s in the shower.

This is not my week.

A few days ago, Keem and I were in Target. I needed to get socks. As I was in the socks area, I saw something that I thought was a cute patterned pair of socks. As I got closer, I realized that it wasn’t a cute patterned pair of socks. It was something horrible and disgusting and just completely wrong.

What was it? THIS! This travesty!

Leg warmers! Leg WARMERS! Oh my God. Have we gone back to the 80’s suddenly? Will I suddenly see people using an entire can of hair spray to make their hair as big as possible? I hated the big hair fad. It required actually having skill with using a curling iron.

Today I walked into my office, intent only on heating up my beloved Jimmy Dean breakfast buscuits for breakfast. One of my co-workers approached the area. I noticed her outfit. White t-shirt, denim mini-skirt, red high heel shoes and ACK!! Cringe!

Red freakin’ leg warmers.

DM: What are you wearing? How can you be wearing leg warmers? How?
Co-worker: They’re back. They’re back in style.

No. No, they are not back. They never should have been here in the first place. And they’re back? I’m sorry, but I associate those words with Poltergeist or the Terminator (although Arnold actually said “I’ll be back” but that’s not the point).

And this was an email that somehow got past my spam detector at work. I was somewhat amused.

“Bad enough,” noise said harm jump degree he; “hard work and not a kind word spoken.” sin Now, then, I was again happy; I nail now spit took current only 1000 drops of laudanum per day; and what was that? A l spilt Without glass buy balance a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.” “Dear me, how spade sad! Do you search mind theory division telling me your age?”

It’s almost poetic.

Have a good weekend, my lovelies. I am going to go scrapbook with Beth Saturday night. It’ll be very fun.

Oh! And I saw the best movie ever yesterday. If you believe in fairy tales and that dreams can come true and that there should be the possibility of people just breaking into song and dance at the slightest provocation, then you will love Enchanted. It was very, very, very cute. And there was a big dance number in Central Park!

Keem (after big dance number): I want to press rewind.
DM: Me too.

Numbers are why I’m in a mood. Letters are why my mood is lessening.

1. People are cranky. Yes, I understand we are busy. Yes, I understand that we made a mistake. How about you shut up long enough for me to do my job, bad word that starts with a b? Huh? You think you can do that? And offering to buy reading glasses for the Approval department is not making me want to help you.

2. Lady, I am sorry that you had to wait on the phone but no, there is not a way that we can get the automated system to recognize that you are calling from Ohio. The recording is going to give you the address. No one is saying you have to come here to get the direct deposit form. And, you know what? If you shut your trap, maybe I’ll order it for you.

3. I want Mountain Dew. Eric was supposed to buy me Mountain Dew. He says he forgot but I am thinking he is one of those “Dana needs to eat/drink healthy” people. Grr. And, yes, I am too lazy to go and get it myself. What’s your point?

A. Free breakfast today. There was bacon. I love bacon. Bacon is quite possibly the most perfect meat.

4. Just figured out that I forgot to take my pills for the last couple days. Hmm. Could be behind the crankiness. I really need to come up with a better system other than having people say “Oh my God, you’re being such a bitch. Take your pills.” You’d think the Outlook reminder I set up would be enough.

B. Josh is 4 today. I get to go to Chuckie Cheese and see my seriously excited nephew. This should be cool. I hope there are decent video games.

5. I haven’t done laundry in approximately two weeks. I am not looking forward to it. I’m supposed to it tonight but Kari frowned on the thought of me missing Josh’s birthday for laundry. I suppose I can do a load or two before she comes to pick me up.

C. Remember the crazy woman from a few weekends ago? Yeah, turns out that her boyfriend lives on the 24th floor, not the 27th and he’s in the process of being evicted. So I got asked to go to court tomorrow with the office staff in case the judge has questions about what happened. I get off of work early AND get to see our justice system in process. This is awesome.

6. My lunch is almost over. I am less than pleased. Lunch should last forever. I need to find out a way to get paid for blogging and playing Age of Empires. Any suggestions?

D. I could only come up with 6 reasons for being cranky. This is good.

E. It’s customer service week at work. Monday was Red and Blue day. I got bored holding for the help desk and decided to color my gray hair with a blue marker. And I colored one eyebrow red and one blue. And I drew little red and blue circles all over my hands. Yesterday was pajamas day so I wore pajamas and put my CO Bigelow Purifying Clay mask all over my face. Today is sports day. We were supposed to dress up and show our support for our favorite teams. My favorite team? The X-Men. Super Heroism can be considered a sport. I bought florescent hair color in yellow (looks more green) and did the X-Men logo in eyeliner on my cheeks. Apparently customer service week means Draw on Dana’s face! Works for me.

Hope you’re all having a better day than I am. Although I do feel better now. Venting really does work for me.

I’m pretty sure there is an ancient Chinese curse that says “May you live in Interesting Times.” Sheesh, I don’t know who I ticked off lately but back off, already.

This was my weekend. In bullet points, because that just makes everything more exciting.

  • Keem decides to leave me and head home to La Crosse for the weekend (it might be Lacrosse but I can never remember correctly). We had been talking about going to the Ren Fest but hey, no big. Maybe I’ll call Beth and see if she wants to scrapbook Saturday night.
  • Or not. Maybe instead I will break out in hives again. I think I might have grabbed a shirt that wasn’t rewashed or maybe someone hates me. Fortunately I did take a Benadryl right away (bless you, makers of Benadryl) and the hives were stopped in their tracks. The itching wasn’t but I didn’t end up covered in big red and white blotches. I did learn an important fact. If you start bleeding, you are scratching too hard.
  • I spent the evening eating a huge Caesar salad w/chicken breast from Quizno’s (and yes, I do know that Caesar dressing is terribly fattening and not really good for you but I don’t care. Their dressing is quite possibly the best dressing ever. It is peppercorn flavored crack. I would inhale it if, you know, it wasn’t a liquid and would cause me to start choking) and playing Age of Empires III. When I wasn’t watching the Burn Notice marathon on USA and wondering who is cuter, Michael who is played by some guy I don’t know or Sam who is played by Bruce Campbell. Mmm, Bruce Campbell. Ahoy indeed (Old Spice commercial reference to those who think I may have gone insane). Oh and petting the cat and telling him that I’m sorry that Keem has abandoned him but Life will go on. He is not convinced.
  • Saturday. Not so much itchy but feeling sick to my stomach, sniffly, coughing. Cancel the thought of going scrapbooking.
  • You know what would be good at 8:45 PM? Parsnips! Parsnips sliced thinly and sauteed in a little butter. Yummy.
  • Did I just hear a knock at the door?
  • Yes, I did. Do I know this woman (as I peer out the peep hole)? I don’t think I do but she just waved so maybe I do. I will open the door.
  • Okay, don’t know her. She is a low talker so I can’t understand a single thing she is saying except “boyfriend” and “hiding.” Is her boyfriend abusive? She needs a place to hide? I’m not sure I feel comfortable with this.
  • Hey! Wait a second! I didn’t invite you in. You can’t just walk in! This is against all the rules! Well, you’re not a vampire, at least.
  • The next 15-20 minutes are spent figuring out that no, actually, she’s not hiding from her boyfriend. She’s hiding from the police! I am harboring a fugitive! Oh my GOD! Grab large knife to chop parsnips with. Stay in kitchen with hot saucepan and knife where I can beat the heck out of her if needed. She wanders around and talks about how she was a cheerleader at South Saint Paul High, her life took a downward spiral after her husband tried to kill her and suceeded in killing himself, her name is Gina, her boyfriend is 54 to her 32. She doesn’t know how to sit properly in a chair and manages to fall out of it and knock it over. Eddy doesn’t like her and takes off. She makes a few phone calls and then cries a lot after she talks to her mom.
  • Okay, enough is enough. Get out. I tell her I am expecting someone to come over and need to start getting ready. You have to leave.
  • She’s gone. Parsnips are done. Eat parsnips.
  • Don’t call cops or building security because, hello, that would make sense.
  • Go back and play Age of Empires. Die, you British scum! Die! You can’t make me tell you where the Fountain of Youth is!
  • Sunday. Eat more parsnips. Talk to Kari. Talk to Keem. Talk to my Mom. All are stunned that I didn’t report crazy lady. Get lectured. Keem is on her way home. Yay!
  • Keem is home. Lecture, lecture, lecture. Lecture. Lecture, lecture, lecture. Don’t let strange people into the house, Dana. Got it.
  • Don’t feel good. Really don’t feel good. What’s wrong? Dizzy. Headachy. Nauseated. I’d check to see what my blood sugar level is but guess what? I forgot my monitor at work. I am an idiot.
  • Call Beth. Can’t go out. Really don’t feel good. Is it a cold? I don’t know.
  • Eat something (turkey burgers with carrots). Feel somewhat better but still achey, sneezy, etc. Keem tells me I am probably getting sick combined with possible low blood sugar and hey, if I start feeling like this again, maybe I should eat something. Yes, ma’am.
  • Go to bed. Sleep.

That was my weekend. Odd. Weird. Somewhat frightening at one point. Hope yours was less eventful OR was eventful in a good way.

And I called the apartment office and reported Crazy Lady. Apparently she has a habit of this. She doesn’t live in the building but her boyfriend does. He’s being evicted for reasons just like this, as Marcia put it “His life has taken a chemical turn.” Hmm, can you say drugs? I can! And Marcia was on her way to go to court to get him out because he’s fighting the eviction. AND! Get this. He lives on the 24th floor! What was she doing on my floor? Weirdness!

I’ve decided on a new category to explain stuff like this. Risky Business, one of the only movies I liked Tom Cruise in, has one of my favorite quotes. Miles, the guy who also played Booger in the Revenge of the Nerds movies, is freaking out just a tad about their adventure. Miles is also the guy who advises Tom Cruise’s character that sometimes you just have to say What the F*ck. So this quote really sums up some of the things that happen to me. “I don’t believe this! I’ve got a trig midterm tomorrow, and I’m being chased by Guido the killer pimp.”

Okay, Beth, it’s done. Sorry it took so long.

It’s really weird that I’m finally getting around to writing an update about what happened last Saturday. Beth documented it very well in her post and it was a pretty interesting evening.

Anyway, read the above link so you know what I’m talking about or just take my words for it.

Beth and I ended up at the bar on Saturday and did not see THE BOY or Pete. After receiving an order of soda from the waitress (might I say that the Diet Coke was awful and the lime slices indifferent (yes, in my spare time I critique Diet Coke. Bobby serves the best. There’s no question about it)), we sat and watched the interactions between the bar patrons.

I enjoy spending time with Beth. She’s a great friend and it’s always fun to be around her. But this setting is not my favorite. I’m not a bar person. I don’t like them much. This is because I used to drink a lot when I was in my 20’s and now I don’t. So, unless there’s karaoke involved, I don’t much see the point. There was no karaoke. After a bit, while trying to have a conversation over the noise, we decide to play darts.

I suck at darts. Just so you know. This game is shaping up to be the longest game in the world. And there are too many people here. Rude, drunk people. I don’t like them.

Almost at the end of our game when we see Pete. Just Pete. He is BOYless. The bastard. We are wondering if there was a bit of bait and switch going on. Pete pretty much ignores me and concentrates on Beth. I have no idea of the conversation that is going on because all I can hear is the loud music and the screams of flirtation from the drunk people. Yet, oddly, whenever Beth directs a comment to me, I can hear her.

Have you ever been friends with that one person who can read your mind? When one look can exchange an entire conversation? There’s that connection that few people ever get to experience. I’ve been lucky enough to have that connection with a few people. Keem is one. Beth is another. So even though I can’t really hear what she’s saying and I’ve never learned to read lips, everything she is saying to me is crystal clear. How did she end up on a date with Pete? We are asking each other that telepathically. What the hell is going on?

We start playing another game of darts with Pete. We were wrong about the previous game. This is now the longest game of darts ever. EVER. Dude, what is up with the bumping of the knuckles? It is so not bringing me any luck. If it was, THE BOY would be here and you would be handsome and debonair and in to me. And quite possibly English with a witty sense of humor. Since your sense of humor seems to consist of calling all of your friends assholes, you’re not that amusing. Well, at least to your face.

Pete wanders off. Beth and I have a quick conversation about what we’re going to do to end this evening. I ask her if I should fake an asthma attack. We decide this is a good idea. After this game is over, I’m going to fake one. It’s not like I haven’t had enough of them in my past to know what they look like.

A million hours later, we are still playing darts. Some guy wanders over and starts talking to Pete. He asks Pete if he wants to go to the neighboring bar, Pig’s Lung. I panic. Why do I panic? Many years ago, my bar of choice was the Pig’s Lung. My friend Becky and I used to go there every night. I haven’t been there in years and I don’t want to go back. Not tonight. Not ever.

Pete asks me if I want to go to the Pig’s Lung. I tell him to ask Beth. He does. They have a conversation about going. She is not excited about the prospect but he is clueless and doesn’t get it. He gives her this inane argument about how she’s the prettiest girl there. Um, she’s not there. Idiot.

I start coughing. Hard. Beth looks at me in panic. She’s not expecting this because the dart game is still going on. Pete is turned the other way when she asks me if I’m okay. I say, in a normal tone of voice (or telepatically because Pete doesn’t hear me), “Oh, yeah, I’m fine.” I start coughing even harder. Commencing (fake) asthma attack.

When Pete figures out that I am in distress, he is concerned. I am not feeling overly guilty about this because I know that he’s only concerned because his BOY free access to Beth is going to be cut off if I get sick. He offers me a glass of water. I want to ask him if he’s ever known of a time that water has stopped an asthma attack. Because, really, it won’t work. Unless the water is being served by Bobby. But that would be beautiful and there would be karaoke and Perfect Diet Coke with lime slices and Bobby and Bryan and Michael and the beautiful, beautiful Chalet. And THE BOY would be there as well.

Anyway, long story short, we manage to convince him that I am inhalerless and need to go get my inhaler. We leave. And then go and play pool.

The next night, we are at karaoke, oh thank you, God. We are telling Bryan the story. When we get to the part about how he wanted to go to the Pig’s Lung, I say “I am not going to the Pig’s Lung. I used to hang out at Pig’s.”

Bryan laughs. “I love the fact that you have your own little name for it even. Pig’s.”

I continue. “I had sex with a bouncer from Pig’s.”

The entire table stops and looks at me. Do I shut up? No, I continue. “Yes. In my Grandmother’s driveway. While my mom is flashing the porch light. What am I going to do? Go in there and see if he still works there and ask him if he remembers me?”

Later on, when THE BOY shows up, he makes a comment to me after I’ve finished singing whatever I sang. But I rocked.

He says, with that half smile on his face, that knowing half smile “You sure sing a hell of a song for someone with asthma.”

He knows I faked the asthma attack. He has to know. Especially since I’m sitting there with a cigarette. Not that I smoke. Because that would be wrong. HE KNOWS I FAKED THE ASTHMA ATTACK! And he doesn’t care. He thinks it’s funny. How cool is that?

There’s more to this post but I don’t have time to finish it right now. I will leave you with this little tidbit. On Saturday night, when Beth and I were heading to the pool hall and laughing about the fact that I faked the asthma attack, I said this “You know, I wish I would have thought of this the time the really annoying guy was hitting on Becky.”

Beth says something like “You didn’t?” Or “What happened?”

I continue. “Yeah, this would probably been a better idea than sleeping with him.”

Don’t you hate it when I leave you hanging like this? Aren’t I a bitch?

Okay, to finish my story.

Many years ago, back when I hung out with my friend, Becky, and we used to go to the bar a lot, we ended up at a bar in Stillwater. There we consumed many kamikazes (evil, evil drink that it is).

Some guy named Jim started hitting on Becky. Hard. She tried to be polite and dissuade him. She tried to be nice and convince him she wasn’t interested. It didn’t work. We then tried telling him that we were lovers and I was annoyed that he was hitting on my woman. That didn’t work. In fact, that intrigued him even more. We tried getting up and walking away. He followed us.

At one point, we mentioned that we were married (not to each other) and had children. Becky said she had 3, I said I had 5. I’m not sure where that number came from. This is how persistent this man was. He told me I had a great body for someone who had 5 kids. Now, I was thinner then but still, it’s a cheesy line. I know I try to get his attention away from Becky because she’s my friend and I’m trying to protect her.

The rest of the evening is vague. Probably because of the amount of alcohol I had consumed. Plus, this was a long time ago. I know it was before we moved to Madison but I’m not sure when exactly. I do know it was during the late 80’s. I met Becky when I was going to college so that was either 1985 or 1986. We moved to Madison in 1989 or 1990. I’m not good with this math thing. Or the memory thing. You may have noticed this before.

I do know that, at one point, this guy and I ended up walking through the streets of Stillwater. I have no idea where Becky is. I have no idea where we are. Suddenly we end up at this partially constructed building. Somehow he talks me into exploring it.

Then we are kissing. Why? He’s not the best looking guy I’ve ever seen. I’m really not that interested in him at all since I have this horrible, heart-wrenching crush on some guy named Tim (who now I can barely remember but at the time, well, he was absolutely wonderful and I adored him). But I’m lonely and Tim’s not interested (gay, not that I knew it at the time) and this guy is there so what the heck. What’s a little kissing going to hurt?

The next thing I know, Jim has lifted me up onto one of the planks in the construction area. This gives me an idea that he’s pretty strong because even though I was thinner then, I probably weighed about 200 pounds (how weird is it that I would love weighing 200 again?). I don’t know about you but I certainly can’t lift 200 pounds. So he’s definitely stronger than me.

We continue kissing. I’m completely out of it. I don’t remember much more than the kissing. Except that, the next thing I know, I’m naked, he’s (oh, how do I say this tactfully…) visiting and it hurts. Splinters from the boards, absolutely (again, with the tact) no excitement on my part and therefore, the friction was not so pleasant. So I ask him to stop.

This is what he says to me. “I’m almost done.”

Um, hey, Mr. “Let Me Invade Your Personal Space Because You’re Drunk And Don’t Have A Clue As To What Is Going On” Jim, I don’t care that you’re almost done. This hurts. Stop now.

He doesn’t. I know that he’s stronger than me, I know that’s there not much I can do about this and quite frankly, at this point, the best that I can do is just lie back, pretend that he’s Tim and hope that he finishes quickly. Thinking about Tim brings a bit more enthusiasm on my part. At least it doesn’t hurt any more (except for the splinters).

I think I mentioned that I was extremely lonely, right? That’s about the only thing that explains what happened next. I look him straight in the eyes. “Tell me you love me,” I demand. He complies.

I then start calling him Tim. As in “I love you, Tim.” He took offense to this. “My name’s Jim,” he says. I, in my brusque, “I don’t really give a damn what your name is, jerk” fashion say “I KNOW what your name is.” And then I call him Tim again.

He finally finishes. I get up, get dressed and walk away. He calls after me “Hey, don’t you want a ride?” I keep walking, crying the entire way. I find my way back to the bar. No Becky. I ask the guy she had been talking to if he’d seen her. He says, after looking at my tear-stained face, “Are you okay? She was looking for you but when she couldn’t find you, she left.”

Great. I’m stranded in Stillwater. I’m drunk, I’ve just been through a situation that may or may not be considered acquaintance rape (due to the fact that I had asked him to stop and he wouldn’t), I’m wandering up and down the streets of Stillwater, crying and looking extremely pathetic. This is not good.

At the very depths of my despair, while I am lost (because of course I got lost), I find myself in front of the Stillwater Cemetary. I stare wistfully into the cemetery, at all of the tombstones, and start crying again. “Please help me,” I cry to the dead people. (It’s probably a good thing none of them take me up on it. I would have freaked out). I look up. There I see the light of a Super America. Oh, thank God.

I end up taking a cab home. Becky called me the next day, apologizing profusely for leaving. We had a good cry and it brought us closer together. And that, dear reader, is one of the many reasons why I don’t drink anymore. I have done stupid, stupid things under the influence of alcohol.


July 2018
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