Elegy For A Suicide

The world is fractured and I keep feeling lost
since he died. Time falters forward, pausing occasionally
to look for him. I glance over my shoulder
when I hear a twig break or a door sigh
the way he used to, though I try not to,
and I miss him again. He was a dream, an idyll and ideal
and now a martyr. His crusade for love
left him damaged and afraid, alone in his mind.
I couldn’t reach him in time and so he left
without me, escaping on eager, trembling wings.
I remember him when a conversation stutters,
when a star tumbles to the ground,
when a beautiful girl cries. Mercy
and grace must surely be his, if anyone’s.  I believe
he came to rest among angels who understood him,
and now he shines in the diffuse indigo night
for everyone, and not just for me. I believe this
because as I stumble through the pieces of this world,
only the heavens make sense.

How Not To Be A Workout Buddy

floor-exercises-825064_640So you’ve decided to get serious about going to the gym?  You know, one of the best things you can do to improve your exercise routine is to get yourself a workout buddy.  Studies have shown that people who exercise with a partner are more likely to reach their fitness goals.  After all, no app, tool, or supplement can give you the kind of motivation you’ll get from a workout partner who really knows you:

Little Blind Girl:  Hey, I know we’re supposed to go to the gym right now, but Skeeter’s Taco Shack is having this contest called “Guess the Fish” where you eat free if you can—

Friend:  Nope.  The last time we skipped our workout, you made me swear on Season Two of Grey’s Anatomy that I would never let you do that again, so go squeeze your doughy butt into some spandex.  We’re hitting the gym.

Little Blind Girl:  Nah, I’m gonna bail.  Sorry, but there is nothing that could get me into my gym clothes right now.

Friend:  (thinks for a second)  Remember how you wore your fishnet stockings to that party the other night, but they’d gotten so tight that you had little criss-cross marks all over your legs the next day?

Little Blind Girl:  Hand me that sports bra.

When you exercise with a buddy, gym time isn’t just more fun; it’s also more effective.  Your friend will know when you’re not challenging yourself and can give you that extra push you need:

(while going for a run )

Friend:  You sure you can’t go any faster?  Okay, okay.  Oh, hey, I’ve got a call.  (talking into cell phone)  Hello?  Oh, hi, Grandma.  How’d the surgery go? (pause) Me?  I’m just out for a run with the Little Blind Girl. (pause) Sure, you can join us!

Little Blind Girl:  Very funny.

Friend:  (still talking into phone) No, Grandma, your wheelchair won’t slow us down.

Little Blind Girl:  Your phone isn’t even on!

Don’t forget that you and your exercise buddy can help each other outside the gym, too.  After all, no matter how much energy you put into your workout, you won’t see results if you don’t maintain a healthy diet:

(at Skeeter’s Taco Shack )

Little Blind Girl:  Well, Skeeter, I’m impressed by the addition of sushi to your menu, especially at that price, but today I’m more in the mood for the pasta carbonara platter—with extra parmesan, of course— and if you could bump the portion size up to “Last Meal On Death Row,” that’d be great.

Friend:  Guess how long you’d have to stay on the rowing machine to burn off all those calories?

Little Blind Girl:  I’ll have the grilled chicken breast, please.  No sauce.

And when all that effort finally starts paying off, no one will appreciate your hard-earned hard body more than the person who was with you for every rep:

Little Blind Girl:  Check out my new arm muscles!

Friend:  All right. (puts hand on Little Blind Girl’s bicep) Okay, flex.

Little Blind Girl:  I am flexing!

Friend:  Oh.  Are you sure?

The buddy system isn’t just for crossing the street.  When it comes to diet and exercise, there’s nothing like a partner to keep you motivated and on track.  So if you’re serious about fitness, make sure that when you head to the gym, you bring along the most important equipment of all:  a friend.

 

[Image is in the public domain via pixabay.com]

The Friend Card

batman-312342_640Among any group of really good friends, you will always find some version of the Friend Card.  The Friend Card is sort of like the Bat Signal; you can only use it in an emergency, but when you do, your friends have to drop what they’re doing, get in their bat-mobiles, and come help you however they can.  They don’t have to show up in a superhero costume (although bonus points if they do), but they do have to show up.

Not all Friend Card-worthy emergencies are harrowing tales of woe, of course.  A lot of them are the kind you eventually end up laughing about. For me, the memories of times I’ve played the Friend Card have turned into some of my favorite stories to tell.  For instance, there was the time I went on a date and had to have a friend come to the restaurant to rescue me:

The Time I Went On A Date And Had To Have A Friend Come Rescue Me

It’s not that the date went badly, it’s that I’d worn an old pair of pants that split down the back seam halfway through the night. Yes, it was hilarious.  Are you done laughing yet?  Okay, how about now?  Good.  So, in the Not Great column, I was in a crowded restaurant with my “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” underwear on full display (stop judging me).  In the Could Be Worse column, I was in the ladies’ room when it happened, which I’ve always taken as proof that God is a chick.

After I got done freaking out, I called a girlfriend who was about my size, invoked the Friend Card, and skulked in a stall until she could bring me some pants that didn’t violate public decency laws.  It took a comparative eon and a few months off my life, but my friend finally got to the restaurant and headed discreetly to the bathroom, where she handed me a nice pair of her own pants to change into and then immediately left so I could continue my date.  She even snuck my ripped pants out with her so my date wouldn’t see them—star power!

The rest of the night went very well, and I’m ashamed to say that my friend’s pants got pretty badly wrinkled by the time I returned them the next day.  No, that’s not true.  I’m actually not ashamed at all.  So, under the circumstances, I think that was a solid use of the Friend Card and a fine performance by my friend.  She still makes fun of me for it, but she gets to because she came through in the clutch.  And because I wrinkled her pants.

Then, of course, there’s the time I decided it was a good idea to skip the salon and bleach my hair at home:

The Time I Decided It Was A Good Idea To Skip The Salon And Bleach My Hair At Home

I was trying to save money, and I’d thoroughly researched home hair bleaching techniques on the internet.  With what I now realize was undue faith in YouTube tutorials, I followed the instructions exactly, settled myself by an open window, and tried to ignore the way my scalp had caught fire.  When it was time to check under the hood, so to speak, I looked in the bathroom mirror and omigod my hair is orange panic panic panic ask google what to do

black-1299077_640I followed my Google search result’s instructions for mixing and applying a violet-colored toner to cancel out the (pumpkin freaking orange) brassiness, though with a little less faith than I’d had in the YouTube tutorials from the previous step.  I washed out the toner, looked in the bathroom mirror and omigod my hair is purple panic panic panic why does the internet hate me panic panic just shave it all off and buy a wig–

Before I went completely V for Vendetta, I figured I might as well try playing the Friend Card.  To set the scene, this was 5:40 on a Sunday evening and the stores all closed at 6:00.  My friend took me to the drugstore, said nothing about the three scarves I had wound around my head, and calmed me down long enough to grab some hair dye in a fetching shade of normal.  It worked thank you sweet baby jesus i’ll never bleach my own hair again and, although my hair was basically straw for the next two months, it was straw of a normal color.  I’m calling that a win.

Of course, I’ve also been the one upon whom the Friend Card was played, and I think I’ve come through pretty well when it was my turn.  I mean, not everyone would be willing to pry the nails out of a coffin-sized wooden box her friend found in the basement of her new house and open it up to see if there’s a body inside:

The Time I Pried The Nails Out Of A Coffin-Sized Wooden Box My Friend Found In Her Basement And Opened It To See If There Was A Body Inside

The problem with living in a big city is that, when you move into your new home and find a large wooden box nailed shut and stowed in a dark corner of the basement and you call the police because the box is just the right size to contain a body, they tell you to open it yourself and not to call back unless the box turns out to, in fact, contain a body.  My friend learned this the hard way.  She couldn’t bring herself to open the box, though, so she friend-carded me— and then I got to learn it the hard way, too.

My friend had tried her best to work up enough courage to open the box on her own. However, in a case of what turned out to be monumentally poor planning, we had just celebrated her last night in her old house with a horror movie marathon that included Nosferatu.  After several hours of staring at the creepy mystery box and clutching a hammer that she was more ready to use as a weapon than as a tool, my friend finally caved and called me to come over and open it for her.  By then, it was closing in on midnight.

Of course I came over, and I brought a crucifix, some garlic, a wooden stake, and my neighbor’s handgun (just in case).  The wooden stake was really just one of my mixing spoons held the wrong way round and the garlic was the kind you buy in a jar, but I hadn’t had much notice.  As I pried out the last nail, I wondered if this was the point in the movie when the entire audience starts yelling “Don’t do it!  Just run!” and then I shoved off the lid before I could chicken out.  My friend, who by this time had turned mint green, stood ready with the mixing spoon as I looked into the box to find….

potatoes-1183623_640Potatoes.  Dozens and dozens of potatoes.  Turns out the house’s previous owner liked to buy them in bulk and store them in the basement in a creepy wooden box because apparently that makes them “keep” longer.  He’d meant to take the box with him when he moved, which is why he nailed it shut, but that corner of the basement was badly lit and he didn’t see the box during his final walk-through.  Still, I didn’t know that when I looked inside, so I totally get the Friend Card win on this one.

Everyone has played the Friend Card, and everyone has had the Friend Card played on them, and I’ve never heard of someone not coming through.  In my opinion, it’s one of the better qualities of the human race, right up there with empathy, imagination, and the inability to throw out your kid’s crappy handmade presents.  It gives me hope.

And to those of you who like to store your starchy tubers in giant scary coffins in the basement:  LABEL . YOUR . BOXES!  Seriously, who does that?  Potatoes.  Good grief.

 

[all images are in the public domain via pixabay.com]

Meet Super (Blind) Girl

I have a superpower.  Now, if I had a choice as to what superpower I would have, it wouldn’t be this one.  My first choice would be the ability to fly.  After that, I think maybe super-healing (because chopping vegetables while blind never ends well) or maybe immortality, because awesome.  It wasn’t up to me, though, so what I ended up with was this:  when I’m out running errands, I have the ability to go into a store and walk right up to the thing I’m looking for, even when I have no idea where it is and I can’t see it or anything around it.  Useful, but no one’s going to make a movie out of that anytime soon.  I don’t think.  Unless I can figure out how to sparkle while I do it.

edward cullen

Edward Cullen by Joel Kuiper, licensed by CC

My superpower became apparent a while ago when I was out with a friend shopping for a garlic press.  We were at Overpriced Behemoth Box Store (not the actual name, unless we’re being honest) in which literally thousands of items of varying degrees of usefulness were shelved, hung, and piled up farther than the eye, or my eye at least, could see.  We resigned ourselves to a minimum twenty-minute session of squinting and swearing, girded our loins, and went once more unto the breach.  I forded a nearby aisle, picked something up at random to see what it was, and yes:  it was indeed a garlic press.  Or should I say, it was the garlic press, because not only was it the thing I was looking for, it was the only one in the entire store.  All this while my Totally Sighted Friend was searching fruitlessly right beside me.  Hand to God, and I have a witness.

It’s gotten to the point that my Totally Sighted Friend will take me to the grocery store, tell me what she needs, and then follow me around until I find it.  One day she needed potatoes, so I wandered into the produce aisle, picked up a kumquat, put down the kumquat because I’ve never been sure what a kumquat is, thought I might like some cheese, and on the way to the cheese stand nearly ran into the potatoes.  Totally Sighted Friend seriously and with opportunism aforethought just leaned on the cart and watched me amble around until I stopped and went, “Hey! Potatoes!”  Which were right next to the onions I remembered I needed when two of them fell into my shopping cart.  They were specifically yellow onions, too, which was the kind I  wanted.  That’s really what makes it a super-power:  it’s so freaking specific.

i__m_a_goddamn_superhero_by_woodstock_chan-d397ahb

copyright 2011-2016 by woodstock-chan on deviantart.com http://fav.me/d397ahb

Of course, with great power comes great responsibility.  For instance, I have to be careful when I’m looking for something sharp or heavy that I don’t have anyone near me at the time lest they find themselves minus a finger or plus a concussion, because if I don’t immediately find whatever I’m looking for, it will launch itself at me, and not all coffee-makers have good aim.  I also have to watch out that the things I’m looking for don’t spill themselves all over the floor beside me and trip some innocent bystander who didn’t realize who they were standing next to.  As Super (Blind) Girl, it is my duty to minimize collateral damage in the fight of good against evil, and by good against evil I mean me against whatever idiot decided to reorganize the grocery store aisles I had so carefully memorized (side note to whoever did that:  I hope that when you go home, your mother runs out from under the porch and bites you).

Yea, verily, the life of a superhero is fraught with peril.  As I walk this lonely road, gentle readers, do not envy me, but follow at a safe distance, because there’s a decent chance I’ll accidentally find whatever it is you’re looking for.  By the way, I also have the power to draw smiley faces on the insides of basketballs, but I’m afraid you’re going to have to take that one on faith. 🙂

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!

Close Encounters of the Chain-Bookstore Kind

BookstoreMy friends and I were in a bookstore once–one of those big national-chain-type bookstores where you need to use your GPS to find your way around.  Actually, this was long enough ago that you had to leave a booktrail to follow back–you know, where you take a book you like and leave it facing cover-out so that you can follow the books like a breadcrumb trail back to the front door, The Sound and the Fury to American Gods to The Maltese Falcon and so on…if you’re with friends you know well enough, you can also use this method to find each other in the store.  Anyway, one of my friends was being hit on by this totally obnoxious guy who was being a condescending jerk to her just because he was very good looking, which would have been less offensive if he hadn’t been spouting really bad existentialist philosophy at the time.

Disclaimer:  I have nothing against existentialist philosophy, as long as it’s done well, preferably in a French accent while smoking a cigarette.  Sadly, this was both crappy and in a Middle America kind of accent.  Not that I have anything against Middle America, it’s just not known for its existentialist philosophy.  Crap.  This is bound to offend someone.  Don’t hate me.

So my friends and I stood watching this for a while, because it wasn’t a big town and that counted as entertainment, when suddenly I’d had enough.  I mean, there’s only so much douchiness you take, especially when it’s being dished out to your friends.  So I ran around a display, rushed breathlessly up to my friend, and said, “Oh my God!  It’s really you!  I can’t believe it!  No one’s going to believe me when I tell them about this!  Can I have your autograph?!”  And my friend graciously signed her name as Douchebag Hairdo gawped moronically on the sidelines.  Friends:  50 million.  Douchebag Hairdo:  0.

Friends are awesome.  Can I just say?  Also:  everyone deserves to have that happen to them at least once in their lives.  Except maybe for Douchebag Hairdos.

Does going to a Richard Marx concert hurt my street cred?

Dirty Dancing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A while ago, I posted about my friend who mysteriously got engaged.  Well, during my hiatus, she got married, and I was there for her bachelorette party the night before.  Now, for those of you who are under thirty, you probably have quite a different picture in your heads when I say “bachelorette party”.  What actually happened was that we rented a hotel room and some eighties movies, drank beer, and gossiped while watching Dirty Dancing.  We’re wild women and cannot be tamed.

At the time, I had been on a Richard Marx kick for about a week.  I don’t remember what started it, but I was seriously rediscovering his work leading up to the party.  This isn’t a tangent, and here’s why:

Little Blind Girl:  (squints at screen) I haven’t seen this movie in forever.  Come to think of it, I think the last time I watched it, I could actually see the screen.

Mysteriously Engaged Friend:  D*mn, I didn’t realize this movie was that old!

LBG:  (hits Mysteriously Engaged Friend with pillow)

Non-engaged Friend 1:  Poor Patrick Swayze.  He looks so young.

Non-engaged Friend 2:  Dude could really dance.  Look at him!  And the hot blonde chick who plays the dance instructor, too.  Say what you want, the people in this movie had serious skills.

LBG:  If you say anything along the lines of “Not like in the dance movies the kids watch these days”, the next pillow is coming at you.

MEF:  You know, I think the blonde chick got married to Richard Marx.

LBG:  Seriously?  I’ve been listening to his music for, like, a week solid.  That’s so weird!

NEF 1:  That you’ve been listening to Richard Marx?  Yeah, that is weird!

LBG:  (hits NEF 1 with pillow)

NEF 2:  I wonder if they’re still married.

NEF 1:  Does anyone have internet access?  We could look it up online.

MEF:  (guiltily) I’m already online.

LBG:  Really?  Now?  What site are you on?

MEF:  Second Life.

(pause)

NEF 2:  You’re playing a character in a fictional online world during your bachelorette party the night before you get married?

MEF:  Yes.

NEF 1:  LBG, you’re officially off the hook as lamest person here.

LBG:  I knew we should have gone with strippers.

Richard Marx (album)

Richard Marx (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And that’s how the eighties kids roll.  FYI, we did look up the hot blonde chick who played the dance instructor, and she is still married to Richard Marx and they’ve stayed together for approximately ever, which I think was a good omen right before a wedding.  Ever since then, I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for Richard Marx, and I’m going to see him in concert in December with Non-engaged Friend 1.  I’m pretty sure this is going to destroy any street cred I’ve gathered with my professed love for Nirvana and John Lennon, but I don’t care.  His music makes me smile.  Plus, I had my first slow dance to one of his songs.  When it was first released.  I played it over and over until the cassette tape broke.  The first reader who makes a snarky comment about any of this gets an online pillow attack!