Little Blind Girl has left the building

Jeff and Jodi's Epic Bike Move by Will Vanlue on Flickr

Jeff and Jodi’s Epic Bike Move by Will Vanlue on Flickr

I’m moving.  I’m pretty sure the tears are because I’ve developed allergies to cardboard, packing tape, and bubble wrap simultaneously, and not at all because I’m leaving the place I’ve called home for six years.  You can disagree with me if you want, because I’m just making that up to keep from sounding like a wimp.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are things I will not miss.  For instance, I live in a converted warehouse that wasn’t built to be a residence, and in one of the corners the walls don’t quite meet.  If you’re standing at the right angle at the right time of day, you can see daylight.  I’ve seen it snow inside my apartment.  I won’t miss that.  I also live above a restaurant.  I don’t know why it is that they like to dump all their glass bottles into the recycling bin at dawn, but they do, and the restaurant has a bar, so that’s a lot of bottles.  I won’t miss that, either, though it’s been a pretty reliable alarm clock.  I also won’t miss the trains that run immediately behind the building, and I definitely won’t miss whoever it is who thinks it’s a good idea to blast Justin Bieber at two in the morning.

I’ve made this into a home, though, the first I’ve ever had on my own.  I’ve lived on my own for a while, but I never stayed anywhere for long.  I’m a rolling stone, baby, and I gather no moss.  Except here.  My home, my sacred space, my sanctuary.  The place where, no matter how mad the Chloe Cat is, she has to let me in because she has nobody else to feed her.  I’ve had sleepless nights here because I was anxious, because I was ecstatic, because I had a broken heart, because I had a broken bone, or because I just couldn’t sleep.  I started this blog here.  I can see where my viewership is coming from, and it knocks me out to see that little map light up with countries all across the world in which people are reading this blog, and it all started here.

I’m moving to a great place and I’m looking forward to making a new home in which I haven’t had any heartbreaks yet, or had to shovel snow off the floor.  Maybe my new neighbors will blast Muse at two in the morning, or (it could happen) Bach.  Maybe I’ll blast Bach and see how long it takes people to complain (prediction:  17 seconds).  I’m looking forward to living in a place where the ceiling is so high, I have to submit a work order to get a light bulb changed.  But mostly, I’m looking forward to not having to pack any more boxes, or wrap any more fragile items, or try to hold a box closed with one hand while I tape it up with the other using tape that has somehow become stuck to itself in the last half-second.  Sentimentality is nice and all, but if this doesn’t end soon, I’m going to find out who it is who’s been blasting Justin Bieber for the past few years, shove them in a box, tape it shut, and mail it to Canada.

And I’m going to miss the hell out of this place.  Even though it has no closet space, the floors slant, and it managed to get flooded on the top floor, it was home.  Au revoir, apartment mine.  May you be tenanted by good people who always remember to change your air filter.

Am I A Feminist Or Not? You Tell Me

Woman in Water by Ton Haex on Flickr

Woman in Water by Ton Haex on Flickr

I’m not sure what it means to be a feminist anymore.  With all the good and bad that’s happened since the first suffragettes took up the fight, I’m not sure if wearing lipstick is a call to arms or a betrayal of everything we stand for.  I know I try my best every day, I know some days can feel like a prizefight, and I know I make compromises that I don’t always feel comfortable making.  I know I think about what makeup I’ll put on based on what I’ve got to deal with during the day.  I know I think about what to wear because I need a feminine look to counteract my aggressive demeanor.  I know I think every day about how people will perceive me as a woman, and what impact that will have on my job, and I tailor my appearance accordingly.  I don’t know if that’s a step forward or a step back.  What I know is that I’m a woman, I believe in what I’m doing, and I try to do the right thing both as a woman and as a professional.  Does anyone else wonder if you can do both?

There’s been a sort of Mad Men effect on women’s fashion and beauty in the past few years, and I think there’s been a Mad Men effect on the perception of women in general as well.  You might think I mean that women are seen as more submissive because of this, but I don’t.  I think (and have mercy because I don’t have a television, so I’m going by what people say) that seeing women confronted with starker examples of sexism than the more subtle forms we deal with today has advanced the feminist cause by showing that we face a real struggle.  It was clearer when men swilled liquor and puffed on cigars, but it’s still there, and you can hear echoes from the show in office halls and boardrooms today.  For instance, any woman who works in a male-dominated profession knows that acting confident is going to get you labeled as a bitch.  It doesn’t matter that it isn’t true.  What matters is that, when you beat a man, that’s the easiest road for him to take to try to bring you down.  People who are worth beating don’t say things like that, but statistically speaking, the people who say things like that are the ones you’re most likely to beat, so you have to get used to it.  But let me say it here, so there’s no mistake:  IT ISN’T TRUE.

Some days, I acknowledge, I’m a bitch.  Some days I’m your best friend.  Sometimes I watch sad movies just so I can cry at them, and sometimes I pick a fight because it’s been too quiet and I want to make things interesting.  I’m a woman.  I’m a professional.  I’m a feminist, and I’m feminine.  I’m every bit as good as you are, and if you underestimate me, I’ll grab you by the neck and wipe the floor with your face, so why don’t you just try me and see if I’m bluffing.  I’ll do it in lipstick and heels, because I like to look good when I kick ass, and I’ll do it in a poufy skirt because I think they’re pretty.  I’ll do it in front of your girlfriend because she might as well find out now.  I’ll do it in front of your friends so they’ll think twice before they start anything with me.  I’ll do it because I want to, because it makes me happy, because it’s who I am.  Don’t think for a second that I’ll hesitate to do it because someone else won’t like it.  I’ve been doing this for a while now, and I’m telling you:  I get the best results when I act like what I am.  A woman, a person, a fighter.  Me.

Confessions Part One: Things I Accidentally Stole From My Friends

Sinner; copyright zgrredek on Flickr

Sinner; copyright zgrredek on Flickr

I think there’s an unspoken statute of limitations for things you accidentally steal from your friends.  You know how it is, you borrow a friend’s shirt one day, you mean to wash it and give it back.  Suddenly six months have gone by and you’re unpacking in your new apartment in a different city and you come across that shirt and you think, is it really worth mailing it back?  I’ll just give it to her the next time I see her.  Except, the next time you see her isn’t until someone is getting married and you’re so stressed about gifts and travel plans and horrible bridesmaids dresses that you forget all about the shirt.  Then you get back home, you see the shirt, you do a face palm slap, and you think, I’ve really got to remember to take that with me the next time I’m going to see her.  Except, the next time you see her is when there’s a funeral, and the last thing on your mind is your friend’s shirt.  Unless it’s your friend’s funeral, at which point you’re pretty much out of luck.

When you’ve borrowed an item and you forget (or “forget”) to give it back, I propose a time limit of three years during which time, if the item is demanded, you must return it as expeditiously as possible.  If the item is not demanded within those three years, you’re free to consider it yours and keep it guilt-free.  I have taken it upon myself to test this theory before making a public proposal, because that’s just how much I care.  Also because I kept forgetting to give the things back.  The statute of limitations has passed on each of the items in the test group, and I now consider them mine.  Here’s what I accidentally stole from my friends:

  1. A rock band T-shirt:  this is the quintessential item that you borrow and never end up returning, partly because you honestly don’t remember and partly because you subconsciously don’t want to remember because the T-shirt is so cool.  Mine is from the now-disbanded Marvelous 3, the most rawk-tastic band around when I was in college, and since they’re no longer together, there will be no more T-shirts ever.  The lead singer was Butch Walker, who is still around and making music (which is also rawk-tastic), but it’s not quite the same when you can’t just blow off your classes, drive for hours to some skanky club, and get back late afternoon the next day just in time to take a Phenomenology exam you didn’t study for.  Sorry, Michelle:  the shirt’s mine now!
  2. Books:  another very common entry on the list of Stuff People Borrow And Never End Up Giving Back.  At least one friend of mine has a policy of never lending books to anyone, even immediate relatives, for this very reason.  I borrowed 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez from an ex-boyfriend who, if I’m honest, I’m pretty sure had never read it and only kept it around to impress chicks.  I wasn’t dating him for his mind.  Anyway, I read the book and it was life-alteringly fantastic, which frankly my ex-boyfriend wasn’t, so I kept the book and got rid of him.
  3. Lipstick:  this one is mostly limited to women, though not always.  There’s a magic shade for each woman, and there’s no predicting it based on coloring or skin tone or anything.  You could have identical twins and each would have a different magic shade of lipstick.  It’s the shade that, when you put it on, it doesn’t just suit you perfectly, it makes you feel beautiful.  It gives you confidence just to know you’re wearing it.  When you go to replace it, it will inevitably have been discontinued.  I borrowed a tube of lipstick from a friend and it was my magic shade.  She let me use it for a long time because it’s part of the Girlfriend Code to help your girlfriends look fabulous, and eventually I think we both forgot it wasn’t originally mine.  I still have it, though there isn’t much left, because I’ve been hoarding it for things like dates where the guy actually takes me to a nice place.  As you can tell by the fact that there’s still some left, that doesn’t happen very often.  But when it does, I’m ready.

So here it is, my confession:  I accidentally steal things from friends.  To be fair, though, they accidentally steal things from me, too.  It’s kind of nice, really.  When you’ve all been friends long enough, your stuff tends to end up mixed together through some sort of friendship diffusion effect.  You’re over for dinner, and you comment on your friend’s candlesticks, and then you both squint at them and realize at the same moment–they used to be yours!  That’s OK, though, because you borrowed the necklace you’re wearing from her five years ago.  It all works out in the end.  Man, it feels good to get that off my chest!

When The GPS Got Cranky

Hi, everyone!  Did you miss me?  I’ve been short of inspiration lately, so I thought I’d spare you the lame/crappy/mediocre blog post ideas and wait until I had something worth sharing.  Here’s what you missed:

  1. Animals That Look Like My Ex-Boyfriends

    Ex #4

    Ex BF #4, courtesy of Frank Peters at

  2. Cleaning While Blind, or: What Happens When You Grab Bleach Instead Of Wood Polish
  3. Little Blind Girl Goes To The Shooting Range (that one was actually good, but I’d signed a nondisclosure agreement as part of the settlement)

You’re welcome!  In other news, a friend and I went to a concert a while ago in a Big City a couple of hours away.  We used a GPS navigator to find the location, as neither of us had been there before.  We probably wouldn’t have needed one, except…wait for it…the blind girl was navigating.  The GPS navigator guided us more or less accurately for the interstate part of the journey, though I’m still not convinced we had to use quite so many roundabouts.

By the way, when I googled “intersection types” to make sure I was using the correct term, I also found the following types of intersections:  bowties, hook turn, quadrant, seagull, slip lane, staggered, superstreet, and (my favorite) Texas U-turn.  Did you guys know about all these?  There are so many reasons I’m never learning to drive.  You need an advanced degree to keep all this straight.

Here’s something I bet you never knew about GPS devices:  when they’re low on power, they get cranky.  There’s no other explanation for what happened when we got close to our destination.  I was looking directly at the exit we needed to take when the GPS said “Turn right in 1.3 miles.”  I looked at my friend dubiously and said, “I’m pretty sure we should take this exit.”  The GPS piped up again, and frankly sounded a little peeved:  “Turn right in 1.2 miles.”  I’m not saying it was listening, but it hadn’t given us unsolicited updates before.  It was a little creepy.

Schizophrenic GPS by Incessant Doodling on

Schizophrenic GPS by Incessant Doodling on

Because neither my friend nor I had thought to bring a backbone, we listened to the GPS and went past the exit.  Shortly thereafter, the GPS device told us to make a U-turn and go back.  Mind you, it told us to do this when there was nowhere to make a U-turn for the next few miles.  I think maybe the hyenas from The Lion King got in the device and started arguing with each other about which way to go.  We made a U-turn that I still think was illegal and went back, except that we got mixed up again when the GPS device told us to turn left in 0.7 miles and we ended up on completely the wrong interstate headed in the opposite direction from our intended destination.  We then blatantly ignored the GPS device and tried a little celestial navigation, using the setting sun to determine direction and picking roads that seemed to lead more or less where we wanted to go.

We ended up in the next state over.

I had to call my brother-in-law to ask for directions to get us to the concert.  He, of course, gave us perfectly clear directions that got us exactly where we needed to go.  I guess he was fully charged and therefore not cranky.  We followed his directions and got to the concert only half an hour late.  It was a great show and we enjoyed ourselves very much, until we got outside and back to the car and realized:  we hadn’t asked my brother-in-law for directions for the return journey.  We checked the GPS unit:  critically low on power.

We just got on the nearest interstate and prayed.  The one method that’s never outdated!