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New Orleans Diary: Week 12

21 Feb

Goal: I have totally fallen off the goal. The idea was to write weekly, which I have largely been doing save for the week of SCROTUS’ inauguration when I decided to take the week off. Then I decided to move my posts to Monday because I work on Friday so it made it hard. But now here it is Tuesday. But whatever it’s cool. At least I am writing it at some point, right? Right.

Haircuts: So as it turns out, getting my hair cut is just as dangerous here as it is in New York. People always want to hack my fucking hair off. Every time. I tell them I want a trim and VOILA all of a sudden I have gotten a foot cut off my hair. This is how it happens.

Stylist: Wow, you have such beautiful long hair!
Me: Thanks. I just need a trim though I think the ends are dead.
Stylist: Yeah, probably like the bottom three inches need to go. But wow, it is so long and healthy!
Me: Thanks. So yeah, just if you could maybe cut like 4-5 inches off? I still want long hair. I like my hair long.
Stylist: Of course. So let me see. So you want it like, here? (Demonstrates exactly what I asked for.)
Me: Yeah that would be perfect.
Stylist: Okay great. So to be clear: you want it long enough that it covers your bust, is that right?
Me: Yeah, that’s as short as I would go. But maybe I’d like it even a few inches longer than that.
Stylist: Okay great

HACK HACK HACK HACK HACK

Stylist: So, what do you think? It’s just how you wanted it!
Me: Um…it’s like 3 inches below my shoulders.
Stylist: Doesn’t it look great?
Me: It’s not long.
Stylist: Well, I curled it so it looks a little shorter than it actually is. Once you wash it and the curl comes out it will be exactly where you want it to be!
Me: (Stretches a lock of hair as straight as it can go. It is about 3/4 an inch longer without the curl.) Yeah, it’s short. Thanks a lot.

And this is what always confuses me. This certain stylist that I have come into contact with multiple times always goes on and on and one about how long and beautiful and thick my hair is and how great it is that I can grow my hair and it can still be so thick and healthy and then HACK they cut it all off. Like, why? Why did you say that it was so beautiful if you were going to then kill it with your scissors? Why waste your breath? Why not be like

Listen, bitch, I know better than you because I am a hair cutter and you are a lowly hair grower so imma cut this shit all off.

And then I would at least have the opportunity to run. Don’t stand there and talk all about your love life and your hair stylist experience and subsequently do exactly the thing I asked you not to do like 15 million times. Imagine if I did something like this at work.

Me: What can I get for you?
Customer: A gin and tonic please.
Me: Any specific kind of gin?
Customer: Just the well is fine.
Me: Great! So just to be clear, you want our well gin here right in front of me and then some tonic water from the soda gun?
Customer: That’s right. Yes.

MIX MIX SHAKE STIR MIX ADD MIX

Me: Here it is! Just what you wanted! A Ramos Gin Fizz with Hendricks! That will be $15 please.

That would never happen first of all because it would be rude and presumptive of me to make a drink someone expressly didn’t want because I thought I knew better and secondly because Ramos Gin Fizz’s are super annoying to make and whenever anyone orders one from me I always sneaky pass it along to one of my coworkers and make them do it. But you get the point. My hair is short and it looks sporty and stupid and I hate it. So if you need me sometime over the next 6-12 months, leave me a message. I will be busy trying to grow my hair back.

The world is so small!: I have been working at this one restaurant in New Orleans for all of a month. That is not very long. But in the month that I have been there I have seen 5 different people that I knew from New York! Granted two of them were in couples so it was only 3 instances of seeing people but still! That’s crazy! Yesterday I saw my friend Jason and his wife Colleen. I was so surprised to see them because I was just popping in for my check but there they were sitting at the bar having drinks I snacks.  I think maybe I was weird because I was so surprised. Sorry, Jason! Sorry Colleen!

It’s just that it really catches you off guard when you are wearing a silly uniform behind a bar in a city where you don’t know very many people and all of a sudden someone you knew from what feels like a different life walks in and you’re all like

Woah.

Super trippy. Because there are a lot of bars and restaurants in New Orleans. A LOT. But people keep walking into mine. And now one actually knows where I work so it’s just super extra weird but also awesome. Is this a sign that I should go back to New York? Maybe? Maybe New York is like

Hey! Hey! Remember me? You lived here for your entire adult life? I am going to just send a few people that you like down there to just randomly walk into your place of employment so you can remember just how much you like it here, kay? Kay.

Well played NYC. You so sneaky.

Men: UGH. (I actually almost feel as though I could just finish the section right there but I will elaborate.) Yesterday was one of those days where maybe I should have just not left the house. Okay okay, that’s not entirely true. Last Wednesday was a day when I should have just not left the house. That was The Day of the Horrible Haircut, The Day that I Lost One of My Favorite Earrings and also The Day my WhatsApp Got Hacked and I Had a Panic Attack. All in all last Wednesday was not my best day. Yesterday was fine until I had to walk to work to pick up my check because something totally weird happened with it and it didn’t get direct deposited. I am not going to go into all that but suffice it to say it was annoying and confusing and I am pretty sure that I am being harassed by an ill-intentioned spirit or internet person. ANYWAY, moving along. Yesterday my walk to work was going just fine until I passed by this dude on a bike and he looks at me and goes

Let me get a taste. Excuse me, I said let me get a taste of you.

Like as if I hadn’t heard him the first time. As if I hadn’t intentionally ignored him (while resisting the urge to vomit). Nope, he assumed I just hadn’t heard him and that if he said it again a little louder and included the oh-so-polite “excuse me” as a precursor I would be like

SURE THING! Let me just drop my pants right now. Get your tongue ready, boy! This shit tastes gooooooood.

Ew gross I can’t believe I even just typed that. Excuse me while I shower.

Fifteen minutes later…

I’m back now. In real life I didn’t actually say that gross thing I just typed up there that I will not type again or even reread. No siree. Instead I chose the more tactful route and yelled

The fuck is wrong with you, you disgusting piece of shit. Get the fuck outta here. Get a taste? I’ll give you a fucking taste of something you piece of garbage. How about this? I hope your fucking dick falls off. How does that taste?

I looked around to see if anyone had witnessed the interaction but no one seemed to notice one way or the other. Of course there were some people walking around in storm trooper outfits on the other end of the block so maybe they were distracted? Anyway I kept walking. And the very next dude I saw, the very next goddamn one, was wearing a shirt that said “Bitch Give Me Head” and he was holding some stupid goldfish tank full of liquor and walking down the street with a lady. A LADY! I’ll tell you what, if I met to hang out with some dude, friend or otherwise, and he was wearing a shirt that said “Bitch Give Me Head” I would throw paint on him and kick him in the nuts. Or maybe I would kick him in the nuts first and then throw the paint because I wouldn’t want to get paint on my clothes. I am not about to ruin my outfit because some asshole thinks he’s funny. And truth be told since I don’t normally walk around with paint I would have to come up with some other solution. Maybe I would take his goldfish bowl of booze and pour it over his stupid head and then make him wear one of those ridiculous novelty shirts that says “I POOPED” on it for the rest of his time in New Orleans. Bitch give me head. Please. I also hope his dick falls off.

Conclusion: I don’t know, I think that’s about it for now. I wish I had more New Orleans specific things to report on but I had to miss the Krewe of Barkus because that entitled coworker I bitched about last week was a no call/no show and got himself fired so we all had to pick up the slack. I had to pick up the part of the slack that conflicted with seeing a bunch of dogs wearing costumes. But! This week should be fun. Muses is happening on Thursday and my friend Tiffini is coming to visit and is staying with me. Also, Victoria is here not staying with me and so is Austin and his family! Fun times ahead. Stay tuned!

STILL Living that Hive Life

16 Aug

Do you remember when I wrote that post about how I keep on getting hives? Well, guess what? I am still getting hives. And guess what else? It still fucking sucks. Right now, for example, I am sitting on the porch of a house in Vermont that my family rented for our occasional Frankation and I have hives on my knees. Nowhere else, just my knees.There were a whole bunch of them before but now I only see like 4. Four hives. Some of them are small like pin pricks and other ones are almost quarter-sized. Size aside, they are all itchy. Very, very itchy.

So, where did I leave you last? I believe it was sometime in April before an appointment with a doctor to try and figure out what in the world was happening. As I predicted, she did some weird shit with magnets and then proclaimed

CANDIDA!

and told me I couldn’t eat a whole bunch of things and also gave me some pills, some of them very, very big. Here is a list of the things that I was told not to eat because of candida and also hives, which were supposedly caused by candida:

  1. wheat
  2. dairy
  3. sugar
  4. caffeine
  5. overripe fruit
  6. dried fruit
  7. basically don’t eat fruit except maybe an apple or something
  8. things that are fermented
    1. alcohol
    2. vinegar (does this include catsup? I don’t know!)
  9. soy
  10. basically everything else except lettuce and maybe some salmon

So I tried the diet and as it turns out it is really, really hard to avoid eating all those above-listed things when you already don’t eat meat or poultry. Going to a restaurant was problematic. Breakfast also was an issue. Couldn’t eat toast. I love toast. More problematic even than toast was the fact that I kept getting hives! Still! More and more often! What could it be?! MYSTERY!

I decided basically that I would ignore the hives and maybe they would go away, sort of like what I do to an annoying little kid (or, more accurately, some of my bar customers). I felt like maybe if I didn’t make the hives feel special, like they mattered or were deserving of attention for their poor behavior, then perhaps they would pack up their itchy little bags in search of a more reaffirming host. As it turns out waging mental warfare against hives is entirely ineffective. Hives don’t give a fuck. Why? Because hives do not have brains. Back to the drawing board.

I started paying an insane amount of attention to all the things I was doing and when exactly the hives were rearing their brainless little heads. I noticed that I got hives most often on Sundays and Mondays, days when I am the most tired. Was I allergic to being tired? Or, perhaps, was my exhaustion making my body less able to fight off things that it did not like? The second option seemed the most likely. I jotted it down in my mental notebook. I started paying extra special attention to what I was eating on Sundays and Mondays. It seemed to pay off this one day in May when I was at the beach for my friend’s birthday. The day started out rather warm. There we were: a bunch of girls sitting on beach blankets eating tortas, drinking seltzer and soaking in the sun. It was a Sunday. Hive day. Everything seemed to be going off without a hitch. Hive free! But then all of a sudden everything changed. (Dun dun duuuuuun.) The sun hid behind the clouds, the wind picked up, the sky turned ominous and I ate a handful of almonds.

HIVE ATTACK.

It was the worst attack I had experienced in about a month. They were everywhere. It was like a race against the clock to find the closest CVS (I forgot my topical cream – rookie mistake) before I was entirely consumed by hives. I panicked. I called my dad to report to him that his daughter was likely going to cease to exist in her current form and instead would just become a Rebekah-shaped itch monster. Hive-Bekah, or something. I need to work on the name. Anyway, I decided it must be almonds. What else could it possibly be?? I did a quick assessment of things. I love almonds. But I hate hives. But do I love almonds more than I hate hives?

Hmm.

Close, but no. Almonds were out. Much to my dismay even without the almonds the hives kept coming! I started eating almonds again. It made virtually no difference. Back to the drawing board. Again.

As the summer wore on the hives came with less frequency. Maybe my stress level had lessened? Maybe I was wrong and the hives do have brains and they got bored of me and jumped body? I mean, don’t get me wrong, there were a few incidents. There was the day in June I went for a walk and it was sort of rainy and I got them all over my hands. Then there was the time I was at work and they quickly overtook my knees and knuckles. But the attacks were few and far between. I thought that if the hives came with this level of infrequency maybe I could live with them. I wouldn’t turn into Hive-Bekah after all, I would just occasionally experience bouts of intensely itchy discomfort. Ideal? No. Manageable? Maybe. But then one day: a breakthrough.

I was hanging out with my friend Jessy. We had been hanging out all day, doing all kinds of things. Mostly we were eating. But there were other things interspersed in there as well. We ended the day drinking glasses of wine in her room in an attempt to escape the intense heat of the rest of her apartment. She was sitting on her bed and I was sitting at her desk just in front of the air conditioning unit. Over time I noticed that my shoulder, which was receiving the bulk of the cold air blasting from the window unit, was getting progressively itchier. I looked at it. HIVES! And then like a bolt of itchy, itchy lightening  it hit me: the hives might not be related to things I was eating at all. Instead they might be caused by the environment or, more specifically, by the cold! I told Jessy and we quickly took to the internet (even though I strongly recommend against internet diagnosis) and we discovered the answer: cold urticaria.

Cold urticaria (essentially meaning “cold hives”) is an allergy where hives (urticaria) or large red welts form on the skin after exposure to a cold stimulus. The welts are usually itchy and often the hands and feet will become itchy and swollen as well.

And then it all came rushing back like one of those movie training montages that I love so much only way less inspiring and with a much sadder soundtrack. Every single time I got hives I happened to be cold! And the hives only struck on exposed skin! Iceland? Cold! Rockaway Beach? Cold! Walking through the rain? Cold! Right now? You guessed it: COLD! (Which is weird because it is August and New York is sweltering but whatever.)

So anyway, yeah, I’m allergic to the cold. I have always disliked the cold but now it has reached a whole new level. Now the feeling is mutual. Now I hate the cold and the cold hates me. And it demonstrates its intense distaste by making me super duper itchy. This might seem like a terrible fate seeing as how I live in New York where it gets very cold. And, actually, it does sort of suck. But knowing is half the battle. And now I know never to take an exploratory mission to Antarctica or go to one of those ice bars where you wear some weird suit and walk into an ice castle and drink vodka or do a polar bear swim. Luckily for me these are three things I have absolutely no interest in!

So, if you need me I will follow in the footsteps of the generations of Jewish women before me and head down south for the winter where I will wear funny outfits and play bocce, hive free.

 

Are You Married?

17 May

No.

But sometimes I say yes.

Right now my entire neighborhood is under construction. There are actually two construction projects currently under way on my block. One of them is particularly annoying to me. So much so that I wrote an open letter to the developer of the site and posted it on this blog. I also call 311 on them at least once a week. You know me: always putting too much energy into things that yield absolutely no results. So here is the thing about this construction site. They start work at 7 on the dot every morning except Sunday. It is like clockwork. And I know that city regulation allows them to do that (because I did my research) but it doesn’t mean that I can’t be mad about it. Especially because them starting work actually means that one asshole climbs up onto the second floor of whatever personality-less piece of crap building they are erecting and bangs a mallet against a metal stud for like 1/2 hour. No joke. He gets up there and he bangs metal on metal. And then once I have been awake for long enough that the overall quality of my sleep diminishes ten-fold he says

Yeah, that’s enough mallet banging for today.

And he stops. I hate him. He might be a perfectly nice guy in real life, but by design his job makes him an asshole.

The reason I am going into this is that every time I walk by the construction site – which is like 10 times a day because it is two doors up from my house – I get mad. I glare at the site. I shake my head disapprovingly. I have ill-fantasies about drawing pictures of penises all over the shoddily-built scaffolding. Sometimes I snarl. I try to give nasty looks to the man I know to be the guy in charge of it for single-handedly ruining my quality of life. He knows I’m coming for him. I have even called him on the phone on more than one occasion although I am not sure he has put two-and-two together. I have become that person on the block. (Although to be fair I have spoken with a lot of other people on the block who have also reported the site to 311, snarled and reached out to the developer guy  who by the way calls himself Ryan although I don’t think that is his real name. None of us do.) So just this afternoon I was walking by the construction site, glaring, when I noticed there was a meeting of construction workers right there in my path. Uh oh. This is never an ideal situation. I have been yelled at by so many construction workers in this city over the years it’s absurd. Construction workers whistle at women so much that there was a site on 4th Avenue above a laundromat and the laundromat had parrots and the parrots learned how to catcall. Not kidding. I would be running down 4th and get catcalled at the construction site and begin to descend into a blind rage when I would realize I was being harassed by a pair of mother fucking birds.

BIRDS!

As I was saying, there was a construction-worker meeting happening directly in my path. I knew something was going to be said. I concentrated very hard on drinking my iced coffee and staring at my feet. I hate that I do this but I did it. I thought maybe if I pretended not to see them they wouldn’t see me. That approach failed, obviously.

Construction worker: Hey.
Me: Grunt.
Construction worker: How are you today?
Me: I’d be better if you guys didn’t wake me up at 7 in the morning every day. (ZAMBO!)
Construction worker: Are you married?

Okay, what?! I am so confused as to how this happened. So let’s recap and see if maybe I missed something. I clearly did not want to speak to him, hence the grunt. Then I basically told him that he was ruining my life. And then he asked me if I was married? And what if I said no? Was he going to ask me out on a date? Was he going to see if I wanted to meet him at the site at 6:57am, climb onto the second floor and, at exactly 7 on the dot, take a mallet and bang it as hard as I could against a piece of metal? You know, just to fuck with the neighbors?

I told him I was in fact married by calling out a sing-songy

Sure am

and continued on my way. I pretend to be married at least once a week.

So what I have noticed is that as I have gotten older, the line of questioning from random strangers on the street or assholes in bars and at parties has changed. They used to ask me if I had a boyfriend and when I said yes they would respond, like clockwork (I totally accidentally typed cockwork and it made me laugh…had to share),

Don’t worry, he doesn’t have to know.

And that always made me mad because it was like, what the fuck? I don’t want anything to do with you and your statement completely takes me out of the equation. There is that assumption that I absolutely want to suck your dick in the bathroom but the only thing that is stopping me is that fact that my boyfriend might find out and then who will I be? I will go from being a somebody with a boyfriend to a single nobody, sad and alone who probably picked up some nasty disease from putting your cock in my mouth. Now that I am in my 30s and clearly cannot just have a boyfriend, I must either be married or single (AKA sad and alone and diseased from aforementioned interaction). So the line of questioning has changed. Now people always ask me if I am married. If I say no, all hell breaks lose. If I lie and say yes, just to get them to leave me the fuck alone, they then follow it up with

No you’re not. You’re not wearing a ring.

And it’s like

I wasn’t wearing a ring when you asked me in the first place, dipshit, so if you’re so goddamn observant why didn’t you notice that before?!

But then do you know what happens next, when I don’t actually audibly call the person a dipshit?

Don’t worry, he doesn’t have to know.

AAAAAH!

But I mean, really, what is the expected response to this? Or, I suppose more accurately, the hoped-for response? I came up with a few possibilities:

  1. You’re right! I know a motel you can pay for by the hour down on 3rd. You down?
  2. You’re right! I’m not wearing a ring but I’d like to be and I know a guy who can perform weddings!
  3. You’re right! I live two doors down and my imaginary husband won’t be home for hours!
  4. You’re right! (Swift kick to the genitals.)

My money is on number 4 for sure.

Anyway, I never claimed to have all the answers. But I’m gonna go for a run and think on this. I’ll let you know if any moments of clarity follow.

Living that Hive Life

20 Apr

It has been a rough go in Rebekah-land recenly, friends. Why? Well, the title of this blog is a dead giveaway. That’s right, I keep breaking out in hives and oh my god it is terrible. It all started on Monday, March 21st in a small place in Iceland called Geysir. Yes, Gey-sir. (Chuckle, chuckle, snort.) My constant travel companion Carrie and I had just finished walking around this super prehistoric-seeming landscape, oohing and aahing with other tourists as the earth shot a buttload of water like a hundred feet into the air every 6-8 minutes. It was a sight to behold and a smell to experience. Iceland, in case you were wondering, has a nasty case of the sulphurs.  Anyway, so there we were in Gey-Sir, (chuckle, chuckle, snort) walking through the gift store when all of a sudden my knees started itching something fierce. They were the itchiest knees I have ever had. And then my hands were itching. And I looked at my hands and I had these little red bumps all around my knuckles. I wrote a whole thing about it here that you should read if you really want all the background information. But to make a long story short, basically I broke out in hives over my entire body and Carrie and I had to race across the Icelandic tundra to this random pharmacy that was about to close and the lady there asked me if I had tried to wash the hives off. I mean, I had washed my hands a few times but obviously the hives had not gone anywhere because they were attached to my skin. Hives aren’t something akin to dirt. You can’t just wash them off. And if I’m being completely honest it did give me a little bit of pause that the only lady available to me in my moment of need was someone who thought I could wash the hives off my hands with sulphur water but whatever, I was desperate. Anyway I took some Icelandic antihistamine and they cleared up. Hooray!

But the relief was short lived. Dun dun DUUUUUUN.

Over the past 4 weeks I have broken out in hives at least a dozen times. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. I can’t seem to identify any common factors. (Except for the fact that I am certain I am dying a slow and itchy death.) I haven’t changed my diet, detergent or lotion. I am beginning to think that perhaps breaking out in hives, as opposed to always getting shat on by animals in trees, is my real superhero power. Wouldn’t that be a gas? But of course as I was formulating that hypothesis I realized that I had put my cell phone down in a fresh pile of bird shit so, you know. That theory is still up for debate. It’s almost as if my other superhero power, my actual proven power, was feeling the pressure of being ousted from its position in my life and was like

Nah, I gotchu. Just put your cell phone down right…..there. That’s right, girl. See? We’re good.

I am not certain when I determined that my superhero power was actually an independent being with its own voice, personality and motives but I am just going to go with it.

So here is the thing: breaking out in hives really sucks. Like really, really. First off, they are super uncomfortable. They like morph my hands into a giant mosquito bite. Second, they look really gross. Third, they make me feel like I am this freak of a person because itchy red bumps just sprout up all over my hands and knees at random. Who wants to be friends with the girl with random itchy red bumps? No one, that’s who. And four, they are like a total mind fuck! It’s like, I know I am poisoning my body with something because my body is all,

Wait? What is that? WHAT IS IT?! SOS! SOS! TELL HER! TELL HER THERE IS SOMETHING WEIRD! MAKE HER SO ITCHY SHE WANTS TO SAW OFF HER OWN HANDS AND THROW THEM INTO THE OCEAN!

And then I’m all like

Yeah, but how am I supposed to know what it is if you don’t use your words, body? Use. Your. Words.

But my body has no words. It only has horribly itchy red bumps.

So my favorite hive experience was this past Saturday when I was out for lunch with my friends Katie and Shannon. Katie, it just so happens, is a nurse. So when I met up with her I did a very similar thing as when I encountered the Icelandic pharmacist: I put my hands in front of her face and looked meaningfully between her and them. Katie looked a little worried and proclaimed

Oh! Hives!

because she knows shit. I told her I had taken some Claritin so I was pretty sure it was going to be better any minute. She looked doubtful and concerned. Over the next 45 minutes or so, my hands got progressively itchier. So itchy, in fact, that I kept sticking them in my armpits in hopes that somehow doing an imitation of Mary Katherine Gallagher would fix everything. It did not. This was the first time this approach has ever failed me. As we were sitting down to brunch it only got worse. I looked at my hands. What had started as small, itchy bumps on my knuckles had spread to the palms of my hands and the insides of my wrists. I have learned in my month of living the hive life that when the wrists go, certain doom follows. I panicked. I jumped off my seat and said, as dramatically as I could,

Order me a coffee! I need topical cream!

and rushed to the local pharmacy where the pharmacist did not ask me whether I had washed my hands but instead said that a trip to an allergist and perhaps some Benadryl was in order. This, of course, was in response to me practically breaking out in tears in front of her because I was so itchy and also freaking about randomly having horrible allergic reactions to an unknown source when all I was trying to do was have a Bloody Mary with my girlfriends on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I couldn’t buy Benadryl because I had to bartend that night and it makes me super sleepy so instead I got this crazy topical cream which I now carry with me at all times like a weirdo. A hive producing weirdo.

So, anyway, I haven’t gotten any hives since Monday night so I am feeling pretty positive about things in general. And I have an appointment with a doctor today who helped me with my stomach problems in college by doing some shit with magnets. I feel like life is looking up, friends. I feel like although hives might be winning right now, I am going to make a late-in-the-game comeback. I am going to show them who is boss! I am going to say

Fuck you hives! You are not my superhero power!

and hopefully get shat on by a bird. Just to prove the point.

2016: My Year So Far

14 Jan

A few things have happened since I last posted on this blog.

(1) It became the New Year! 

That’s right. It is now, and has been for the past 2 weeks, the year 2016. It’s kind of wild, right? Do you all remember Y2K? That time when everyone was certain that computers, despite their abilities to do all sorts of crazy things, would not be able to comprehend the fact that the year section of the date line would all of a sudden read 00? We were pretty sure the world was going to end. Well, some people were, anyway. Some smart people, as it turns out. I was pretty sure we would all be okay despite my not knowing anything about technology. I was right. All that being said can we agree that (a) we are happy that the world didn’t end but at the same time (b) it has been a pretty fucked up 16 years and 14 days? And things are only going to get more fucked up from here, I am afraid. So let’s brace ourselves, friends, for the rest of our lives.

(2) I went to Puerto Rico with my friend Dee and it was great!

It was kind of a last minute thing. Basically, Dee said she was going to Puerto Rico, I said I was jealous, and she said, “well, why don’t you come?” And so I did. That is one of the perks of my job. As long as I can get my shifts covered (and of course can afford it) I can more or less do what I want. The downside of all that is that I am oftentimes unable to sleep because I feel as though my life has no meaning. So, you know, there is always a trade-off. (This does not, of course, detract from the fact that I have the most kickass friends in the universe who invite me to join them on all kinds of incredible adventures.)

(3) I decided to reread Philip Roth’s “The Plot Against America”* and holy shit.

Oh my god. So for the record when I started rereading the book I was totally PMSing and when that happens I get more teary than normal. And if you know me, like really know me, then you know I am tearier than the average bear. Not that I cry a lot, but I just get really emotional about the state of the world. It is such a fucked up place and we do really horrible things to one another. Anyway, so the book. Have you read it? Because you really should. It is basically about what would have happened if Charles A. Lindbergh had defeated FDR in his third bid for the presidency and kept the United States out of World War II. Lindbergh, if you recall, was the first person to do a solo transatlantic flight and also his first son was kidnapped from his crib and murdered, causing Charles and his wife to go into voluntary exile in Europe. Anyway, in real life Lindbergh eventually came back and, as it turns out, was very busy impregnating women the world over. In Roth’s book, his (real life) beliefs in isolationism and anti-semitism led him to become a Nazi sympathizer and almost co-conspirator which, as you can imagine, led to some really fucked up situation for the Jews in the United States since he was the president. It was very upsetting. Not only because I am Jewish and still sort of believe that everyone (okay not everyone but a lot of people) secretly and also not-so-secretly hate the Jews, but also because the hysteria brought about by Lindbergh’s rhetoric reminded me very much of what is happening in the United States right now with Trump and his anti-Muslim sentiments. It’s really scary and against what supposedly makes America, well, America. I really don’t like the idea that to some people the slogan “Make America Great Again” means let’s deport all the brown people. And I especially don’t like the idea that there are a lot more people who believe that than I had originally thought and that Trump has cleared them all out from under their rocks! Well, anyway, read the book. It made me cry on the train and this really nice man in a 3-piece suit saw me looking all upset, touched my leg and said it would “all be okay” before he exited at Jay Street. I thought that was a little to optimistic from where I was sitting but his heart was in the right place. Thanks man in the 3-piece suit. You’re swell.

(4) I have further solidified my status as crotchety old person.

But for real. So I came home from running errands yesterday and I noticed that my downstairs neighbors had, at some point in time, received something in a box, emptied the contents of the box and then disposed of the box. No big deal, right? Wrong! Because you know what they didn’t do? They didn’t take the bubble wrap out of the box nor did they break the box down and put it in a bag with all their other paper recycling. They simply carried the box down the stairs and dumped it on the ground right in front of the paper recycling bin that is conveniently located for us to dispose of our things in a reasonable fashion. And here’s the thing. We don’t live in some doorman building or like one of those places where you pay a maintenance fee. We live in a regular building with regular people where we pay regular rent and we take care of regular things, like our garbage, ourselves. But not my downstairs neighbors, no sir. They are too special to break down their boxes and dispose of the bubble wrap (or jump on the bubble wrap and then dispose of it, like we do in my house). And that is what is wrong with this city nowadays. People think they are too good to do things themselves and so they make someone else, who is not getting paid to do those things, do it for them. Entitlement. Man, it’s the pits.

(5) I have an infected hangnail on the thumb of my right hand and it really hurts.

I don’t feel the need to expand on that. It just hurts. I don’t think I will have to have it amputated if that’s what you were worried about. Because last night when I couldn’t sleep because I felt like my life had no meaning I also kept thinking about what would happen if I had to get my thumb amputated. Nothing good except that maybe, maybe, I would get to be a guest on Ellen which as we all know is my one life goal.

Okay, that’s it. Here’s to the many more exciting things 2016 has to bring.

*Wordpress changed the way the blogging feature works which sucks on so many levels. One of those levels is that the option to underline no longer exists. What if I want to underline and book title, according to the rules taught to me in grade school. Or what if I want to bold and underline something in order to bring double attention to an important point? I can’t do those things. Fuck you, WordPress.

The Difficulties of Buying a Travel Guide

30 Dec

I am going to Puerto Rico with my super awesome friend Dee this coming Sunday straight from work. Which means my flight is at 5:30am. I would just like to comment on the fact that I always book flights stupid early and I always, always, ALWAYS regret doing it. One of the times I did this I ended up sleeping on a marble slab in the Cancun Airport and the only way I managed to get the small amount of sleep in that I did was because I did not, at that point, know that the Cancun Airport is infested with cockroaches the size of New York City rats. Seriously they are fucking huge. If I had known they were there everything would have been different. And I mean everything.

Anyway, in anticipation of my trip I walked up to the bookstore to buy a Lonely Planet guide for Puerto Rico. I know, I know, we totally have phones for that but I still like to hold on to those days before smart phones and WiFi when I had to rely on guide books and really poorly drawn and labeled maps. I suck at maps and would always end up hopelessly lost but then something super fun and awesome would happen and it would be worth it. So I still buy the books. I don’t care that they are overpriced and non-returnable. All of that aside I found myself standing in the travel section at the book store and had the following questions:

Where do I even look for Puerto Rico? Will it be in the international or domestic travel section?!

Puerto Rico is not a state but it is an unincorporated US territory. Puerto Ricans are not able to vote in US elections but they do pay federal taxes to the United States government. So in my mind Puerto Rico is pretty much the same thing as Washington DC only with more beaches and less lawyers and Washington DC is definitely in the domestic section. So I looked in the domestic section. (This is actually how this all went down, by the way.)

In case you haven’t visited it recently, the travel section at the bookstore is very confusing. For me, anyway. In grade school, using the magic of music, I learned all about organizing library books (and, by extension, books in the bookstore) and how there are different rules for different types of books. We sang songs. We marched around. Here is an excerpt from the song about nonfiction books:

Nonfiction books
Are books that are so true!
They’re on the shelves in number or…
Number oooooor-derrrrrrr

And here is the one about biographies:

Biography!
It’s a real story!
About real people!
Woo!

We never had a song about travel guides though. I’ve had to learn this one on my own. So the way that they do travel guides, I have found, sort of depends on what bookstore you go to. Mostly it depends on how much people care about keeping it organized. The travel section is always getting all sorts of fucked up. I blame the wanderers who spend time leafing through the books. So in the domestic section the books are organized alphabetically by state, and then under the state the big cities are also organized alphabetically. So if you are looking for New Orleans you would look under L for Louisiana and not under N for New Orleans. Sometimes. Sometimes things are also organized by region. I don’t know, it’s weird and confusing. The international section is generally easier, as long as you stay away from Europe. The Europe section is all fucked up also because a lot of Americans go to Europe and so there are all kinds of country groupings, and regional groupings, and books about specific areas within certain small countries (France and Italy have a lot of little mini-books for more specific travel). Other areas of the world that seem less relevant to the majority of American travelers are not nearly so broken up and so are easier to find in the alphabatized world of travel books. So, for example,  it’s hard to buy a book called ALL OF EUROPE but you can get a book called ALL OF SOUTHEAST ASIA AND ALSO A FEW OTHER PLACES. It is located under A. For ALL OF.

As it turns out Puerto Rico was in the international section. The travel section was all like

Fuck you Puerto Rico you are not a real state.

But the thing that was crazy about it was that right near Puerto Rico, in the same international section, were all the books on Hawaii. Now that threw me for a little bit of a loop because last time I checked Hawaii was, in fact, a state with a star on the flag and everything. Also voting rights. So then I thought to myself,

Self, maybe the staff at Barnes and Noble only considers the contiguous United States to be domestic.

I mean, that is absolutely incorrect but I suppose I could see a small amount of logic in there? Maybe? So I looked around in the international section for Alaska. Alaska is not part of the contiguous United States. Alaska was also not in the international section. It was domestic. There goes that theory. So then I figured perhaps they only considered the continental United States, which is the lower 48 plus Alaska, to be domestic. Still inaccurate, by the way, but whatever. Which also brings me to wonder about why we call the contiguous United States the lower 48 when Hawaii is also lower, geographically, than Alaska. It should actually be the lower 49, if we are being specific. But perhaps that labeling came about before August 21, 1959 when Hawaii officially became a state and we just never stopped saying it.

So then I thought maybe the staff of Barnes and Noble just decided that the United States is not a country that brings to mind islands and so anything that is an island — Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam — is obviously not part of the actual country and therefore should be located in the international travel section. And besides, Hawaii is not in the Americas but instead in Oceania which sounds like somewhere you would need a passport to visit. Also it doesn’t follow daylight savings time although neither do parts of Indiana and Indiana is squarely located in the domestic section…I mean, it would be…I think…if there was a travel guide written about it.  Maybe it’s the volcano that does it? Or the fact that Hawaii has two official languages: English and Hawaiian.

Hold on a second!

Puerto Rico also has two official languages! English and Spanish! Or, more accurately, Spanish and English.

And then it dawned on me! Obviously the person who organizes the travel section is a linguist and made the domestic/international call based entirely on whether or not a place has more than one official language! Or, on the shittier end, maybe the person is not a linguist and is, in fact, one of those fucked up “English-only” people who doesn’t believe anyone should officially speak anything other than English in the United States, or its territories, and therefore places that do not abide by that rule must be relegated to the international section with the rest of the fascists and their subpar, fascist languages. (Have you noticed that closed-minded people are always throwing accusations of fascism around? I have.)

I think I might write a letter.

BLAH BLAH BLAH PORN BLAH BLAH BLAH

1 Dec

Technology is really not my thing. I am fairly certain there is a monster living in my computer and so I have the little lens thing that allows you to video chat with people covered over by a small bit of a post-it note. Also, it seems as though I am almost constantly running into problems. Not your normal, run-of-the-mill problems, either. Like, if I have an issue and I call Apple to have them help me resolve it, they generally will be like,

“Wow, that is really weird. I have never seen anything like this. Okay let’s try this thing which works approximately 99% of the time”

and I’m like

“Yea, okay, but it probably won’t work. I am the 1% and not like the rich kind of 1% but the kind of 1% who has really fucked up luck”

and then sure enough we will try the thing and it will fail. Last time I had computer problems I was the 1% six different times. It’s kind of amazing, actually. If getting shat on by birds and other animals that live in trees (squirrels, lizards) wasn’t already my superhero power then I think being technology’s kryptonite would definitely be it. Or maybe I have two superhero powers. Does anyone know if that is allowed? Let me know, please.

Anyway, for this installment of “Every Piece of Technology Rebekah Touches Turns to Shit,” let us travel back in time to this past Sunday, approximately 4:30 pm. So there I was, sitting in my room, trying to motivate myself to go for a run. I had plans to meet up with a friend at around 6 which left me just enough time for a 4-miler and a shower, if I got a move on. Before the run, though, I decided I just had to go into the website for New York Sports Club and figure out what time the spin class the next day was so I could sign up and get myself to exercise before my bartending shift at 11 the next morning. So I went onto Google and looked up New York Sports Club, clicked on the link and

DANGER!

All of a sudden my computer said that I was on some sort of an insecure site or something and all of my financial information might be compromised. Oh no! So I clicked what I interpreted as the “run away” option which led me to some other site where this pop-up appeared and my computer started beeping at me. Oh my god it was making the most horrible sounds. BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP! I didn’t know what to do. Obviously, I was having an ill fantasy about how at that very moment all of my information was being broadcast into the universe and the little money that I have saved up was just going to go <POOF!> and some asshole living in like Boise or some shit was going to finally buy that gaming system he always wanted. I noticed, through all the beeping, that there was a phone number to call to have someone make sure my computer was secure. I know, I know, you all are probably now leaning towards your computer screen, hand over your mouth, yelling

“You fool! Don’t call the number! The beeping was the hook, but the number is the scam!”

Well, fuck you. It’s really hard to think logically when your computer sounds like it might explode at any moment and you’re thinking all your hard work is only going to go towards buying some kid you’ve never met a new dirt bike! It’s very stressful! So, yea, I called the fucking number. And a dude answered. And he said something about some company or other only I couldn’t really hear him over all the goddamn beeping but I was afraid to close the window because I thought that maybe closing the window was the scam. It was all very stressful. But I decided to see what the guy had to say.

Me: I’m sorry, can I close this window? Is my computer going to explode?
Dude: No ma’am it will not explode. You can close the window.
Me: Okay cool. (Closing window. Silence. No explosions.) Okay so now who am I speaking with? What company is this?
Dude: You called me, ma’am. You are speaking to a representative from Apple.
Me: Yea, I know I called you but I only called you because this number appeared on my screen and I panicked.
Dude: Ma’am, just go to this website.

So I go to the website. Now before we go any further, just let me remind you that I have had many, many problems with my computer. I have had to call Apple Support at least a million times and even though I try to be super polite and friendly when my number pops up I imagine all the representatives are like

No! It’s the girl with the fucked up luck!

And they pass my call around like a hot potato. I bring this up because I am very familiar with what a phone call to Apple entails – automated options menu, long hold times, terrible music. In all my experience with Apple never once has some random dude just answered the phone. Now that the beeping had stopped I was able to actually assess the situation. I definitely had a funny feeling. But whatever, I went to the website. It was a screen sharing thing. So again, I have shared my screen with many an Apple employee and this is not the software they used. So,

Me: Um…what company do you work for?
Dude: Apple, ma’am.
Me: Yea, but this website does not have any connection to Apple whatsoever.
Dude: We contract out to other companies, ma’am. (He loved calling me ma’am. I hated it.)

And this was the moment where it all came together. Apple doesn’t contract shit out to other companies. Apple is an asshole! I told the dude on the phone maybe he should try working for a reputable company rather than a scam operation. He kept telling me that I called him. I couldn’t argue with his logic. I could, however, call him a liar, a thief and a scoundrel which, by the way, I did (I had been trying to find a situation in which to use the word scoundrel for like a week). I hung up the phone forcefully (well, as forcefully as you can press the end call button on a Samsung Galaxy which, admittedly, is not very forcefully at all) and I called actual Apple. I was greeted by the familiar automated options menu, the longer-than-average wait times and the terrible hold music. Aaaah, safety. And then I talked to some dude from Kansas. I told him, in rather colorful language, about the horrible beeping, the phone call, the dude who kept calling me ma’am, making me feel old and stupid. He told me the phone call was being recorded and if I could please stop swearing so much. Kansans. So sensitive. And then he helped me make sure my computer hadn’t been compromised! In the meantime, however, something really awkward happened.

Okay, so in order to make sure that I hadn’t gotten any of that evil malware (dun dun DUUUUN!) we had to go clear my history in all the browsers. So I have this guy — he told me to call him D because he said his name is hard to pronounce but I saw it written there and it didn’t look that hard to me but whatever, I had already insulted him by assaulting his ears with my potty mouth — and he is sharing my screen. I have my normal little cursor and D has this little red arrow and he keeps moving it around the screen, pointing to things. It’s really cute, the arrow. At this moment I am thinking to myself, wow, it’s a really good thing I don’t watch totally fucked up porn on my computer because that would be incredibly awkward. Like, imagine if I was into some weird shit involving barnyard animals and he would be all like

“Yea, I think there is some malware attached to this video of someone fucking a cow in the barn”

and I’d have to be like

“I guess that makes sense. Okaythankyougoodbye.”

and then I would hide under my covers for the rest of time. There was nothing like that on there because I do not watch porn involving barnyard animals. Or other kinds of animals, for that matter. Or, if we’re being completely honest, porn at all because I am so nervous about accidentally watching malware porn and having to talk to someone on the phone while we both pretend to not be seeing what is right in front of our faces. I really like my life and would prefer not to spend the rest of it hiding in my room from some dude I talked to on the phone one time who I will never ever see or speak to again and who has undoubtedly seen much worse. Also, as a feminist, I have some issues with a lot of mainstream pornography but that’s a story for another day. Moving on. We go into my history and there it is,

“BLAH BLAH BLAH PORN BLAH BLAH BLAH”

And at that moment I realize that I had just been reading an article about how Stoya had accused her ex-boyfriend James Deen of rape. Both of these people work in the adult film industry and this was especially surprising and problematic because James Deen has always been heralded by feminist media as one of the good guys. And Stoya is kind of awesome. She writes articles about the adult film industry that I think are incredibly helpful in adding nuance and complexity into our understanding of sex work. Obviously the titles of the articles about Stoya’s accusations aren’t things like

“Adult film actress Stoya accuses her ex-boyfriend James Deen of rape”

or

“Famous woman accuses famous man of rape and we all wait for more accusations to follow because they pretty much always do”

or

“Intimate partner rape is a real thing and we need to talk about it.”

No. The title is

“BLAH BLAH BLAH PORN BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!!!”

And so I am sitting in my room on the phone with some dude named D who doesn’t like when people swear staring at this rather incriminating-seeming list of porn-related searches in my history. I turn bright red and look towards my bed, debating the merits of just putting the phone down and accepting my future. Instead I decide to try and explain it to him. So I’m like

“Yea, so I was on this ‘feminist’ website that actually is horrible and I never read it any more only I decided to read it today and they had a link to a story about this film star Stoya and this is sort of a big deal because people are always on about James Deen and I was thinking, like, of course the dude we all think is a good dude is actually a rapist. That just figures. And so I had to go read more about it because I was curious and now you’re some dude I don’t know and it looks like I have all this fucked up shit on my computer and this is my worst nightmare!”

To which D was like

“Rebekah, I really need you to stop cursing.”

And then I felt two levels of shame. I had the much-feared, and in this case misplaced, porn shame (which we shouldn’t feel because whatever who cares) but then also the potty mouth shame. It was awful. I cleared the history in silence. And then I made a few bad jokes. And then D announced that my computer was just fine and I had nothing to worry about at all and I thanked him for his help and we had a laugh about our conversation and then I hung up and stared at the wall. And then in an effort to feel productive I called New York Sports Club to sign up for my class and to tell them that their website had been compromised and it had sent me on this crazy adventure but that they shouldn’t worry, I was not going to be hiding under my covers. Instead, I was going to attend spin class in the morning. Silence on the other end. I had said too much.

So that’s the end. The whole debacle took so long that I didn’t end up going for a run. I did tell my friend about the whole fiasco and he said that explaining everything probably made me sound more guilty and I should have just left well enough alone. And whatever, the dude on the phone probably wasn’t reading my search history anyway. I called bullshit. I would read the shit out of someone’s search history. You’d have to be a saint not to. Or else not be curious at all. And where’s the fun in that?