Day: January 20, 2016

Open Letters to Other Drivers

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Dear Truck Driving Lady,

You came roaring up the on-ramp and shot wildly across the four lanes of traffic, only to settle into the far left lane and slow down to 5 under the 65 MPH speed limit. I am still wondering why you did this. It was really weird. Was someone chasing you? Are you just really stupid?

Seriously, what was that all about?

In case you are wondering, I was driving one of the cars you narrowly avoided sideswiping, only because I noticed your erratic movement and anticipated your trajectory of vehicular insanity. I slowed from the 73 MPH I was doing in a middle lane and stayed back until you completed your pointlessly dangerous maneuver.

You’re welcome,

Tawni
***
Dear Truck Driving Man,

Just because you throw garbage in the back of your truck while it is parked, thereby forcing the highway winds to suck it out as you speed along, piece by wretched, flapping-back-to-smack-my-car’s-windshield piece, it does not absolve you of the crime. You’re still littering.

Dickhead.

You’re trash,

Tawni
***
Dear Other Drivers,

Please pull up into the empty twenty feet of space you are leaving in front of your car as you sit, waiting for the light to turn green. You’re totally freaking me out.

It is not only weird to leave this big space in front of your car; it is inconsiderate to the cars further down the line behind you. They might not make the light once it turns green because you inexplicably decided you needed to keep a football field’s length between you and the next car.

More than being angry at you for being rude, I am perplexed to the point of bewilderment by your strange behavior.

If I am waiting next to you in the left turning lane as you sit in the straight lane, I sometimes stare at you, then at the large gap of space you aren’t pulling into, then back at you. Sometimes I hold up my hands in a questioning manner. This is my way of trying to say: “What the fuck?

(I thought that I should probably explain that to you, since you are obviously oblivious to the most kindergartenly, bare basics of concepts, such as forming a line.)

The next time you leave a huge space in front of your car, I am going to get out of my own car, leap spastically into the giant space you are not pulling up into with your vehicle, and dance around like a maniac. I might also simulate swimming around in the large area in front of your car before I flip you off, and get back into my car before the light turns green.

My husband thinks I should pretend to parallel park a car into the space in front of your car. That’s pretty funny; I might go with that one. I haven’t yet decided. I’ll surprise you.

Curmudgeonly yours,

Tawni

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Open Letter to My Trashy Neighbors

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Dear Trashy Neighbors,

Thank you for inviting my son and me to your child’s birthday party. The water slide was really fun for the kids. Great idea.

I noticed all of the men drinking beers, so when you offered me a drink, assuming I’d drink kiddie punch with the other mothers, I chose beer. I’d think you wouldn’t judge me for this, as it was a beverage being offered and I’m an adult, but I felt like you did.

As I drank the forbidden Female Beer, I felt the disapproving stares of the women. I hope you ladies didn’t mind my uppity display of Fuck the Boys Club, but I don’t have much patience for gender stereotypes, or the holier-than-thou crowd.

Father of the birthday girl: When you said to me, “We should party sometime,” I had a hard time not laughing at you. Are we teenagers in the seventies or something? Is your daughter’s birthday party theme Dazed and Confused? Are we going to smoke a doob behind the bouncy house? Was it the beer thing that made you think I want to “party” with you? I mean really—who says things like that?

Mother of the birthday girl: Your husband is gross. And I am tired of listening to your arguments as to why I should spank my son, while my well-behaved child who has never been hit in his life is shoved around by your poorly-behaved, constantly-beaten children. They’re learning directly from you that we hit people with whom we disagree, and this horrible life lesson is making them the most violent and least fun kids on the playground. My son doesn’t even want to come over anymore because your kids are so shitty and pushy.

So, hey, here’s a little clue: It’s not working. If it did, you’d only have to hit them once, right? And guess what else? Your children don’t respect you—they fucking hate you. By hitting them constantly, you’ve completely desensitized them to all discipline. In stoner terms—for your husband—you started with the discipline knob on 11, and you have nowhere to go but up (i.e. more violence).

When your creepy pro-kid-hitting husband leeringly told me I needed to “smack that ass” when I mentioned that my son doesn’t take naps, not only did I know that you two have discussed my non-spanking beliefs, but I was completely grossed out by the way your icky husband said “smack that ass.” Sexual innuendos and children do not mix. Learn it, live it.

Also: When you hit your 3-year-old daughter in the head like that, I want to steal her away from you forever. She’s a sweet little kid and I hope she puts you in a nursing home that smells like piss and desperation someday for all of the times you’ve smacked her around.

In short: I think you are fucking carnie freaks and I am never coming to another birthday party or play date at your house again.

Honestly,

Tawni

P.S. You sent me a link to your family blog and I do read it, but only to make fun of your atrocious spelling and grammar blunders. And when you listed “shoot my first buck” as one of your New Year’s Resolutions, I nearly peed myself laughing.

Grocery Store Martyrs and Love Removal Machines

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(Writing from 2008.)

I just dropped the boy off at preschool. He goes two days a week. It’s called a Mother’s Day Out program at the church. I usually call it “Oh My God Is It Tuesday Or Thursday Yet?”

I live for those two little chunks of Me Time. I’ve tiled and grouted a kitchen sink backsplash in the last week. Next I’m going to paint another wall blue. Go me.

***

Today I stopped at the grocery store for a few things on the way home. A whiny fit-free shopping experience is the height of my pleasure these days.

(What? I can take my time and read ingredients and not spend the trip wrestling things from my toddler before he drops them on the floor? I am living in the lap of luxury. Lap of luxury, I tell you!)

When he was younger and I was more of a rookie, he once dropped an entire carton of eggs on the grocery store floor. I was looking at nuts. (Looking at nuts! AHHAHA.) Reading the cans. I wanted unsalted. As usual, the healthier version of anything existing in the Midwest was proving elusive.

I heard the whump of the Styrofoam container hitting the ground, with the thick, wet crackle of eggs breaking. Shit.

“Uh-oh Mommy,” he said in his cute little elfin voice. “I dwopped the eggs!”

Yes. Mommy is painfully aware that you dwopped the eggs. Thanks.

I have worked in a grocery store and never understood people who just run away from spills, leaving them for other unsuspecting customers to roll their carts through. It spreads the mess everywhere and irritates the employee stuck cleaning it all up.

(As that employee, when you hear the sickening crash of a product hitting the floor somewhere in the grocery store, you just pray for solid. Something dry. Or you think: “Not syrup, not syrup, not syrup, please not syrup…”)

So I rushed to the front of the store, spotted an employee, and asked her if she could get me some paper towels. I was happy to clean it up myself.

She rolled her eyes, grabbed the roll of paper towels and huffed over to the egg mess with me. My son was trying to say hi and introduce himself in the rabidly friendly way he greets all strangers, much to my shy dismay. She completely ignored him.

“Hi, I’m Miles! What’s your name? I’m two!” he chirped, holding up two fingers in a desperate attempt to engage this new person who wouldn’t even look at him.

(This is a huge pet peeve of mine. If a two-year-old is saying hi to you, is it so fucking hard to say hi back, maybe even smile? I know that all children are going to eventually learn that the world isn’t always a friendly place, and everybody isn’t always happy, but how about not at two? How about you give the two-year-olds a few more years of bliss before you slap them in their innocent little faces with your jaded asshole demeanor, you grumpy bastards? Is that so much to ask?)

She continued to ignore my sweet kid, while acting completely stressed out, telling me that she was supposed to be on the way to her lunch break right now. Total bitchy guilt trip. Like she’s never dropped anything.

I told her to just give me the towels; I really didn’t mind cleaning it up.

“Go eat your lunch. I can clean it up. I don’t mind at all,” I said.

She implied with a put-upon look and a dismissive hand gesture that I wouldn’t be able to do it right, and continued with the wiping and heavy sighing. She seemed to really be missing her cross and crown of thorns that day.

She made me wish I’d been the asshole who just left the mess on the floor and walked away.

As the employee, I was always the opposite with clumsy customers. I would say things to make them feel better, like “Oh, everybody drops things, it’s no big deal, happens all the time.” I’d also tell them we really appreciated that they told someone about the spill so we could clean it up quickly. I’m all about the positive reinforcement.

My first instinct is always to make anyone uncomfortable feel better, so people who seem to enjoy the embarrassment or unhappiness of others completely freak me out. For this reason, in the face of poor treatment, I never react the way I later wish I had. My brain can’t even process it. The behavior is just that foreign to me. I’m bewildered. Dumbstruck.

My husband is the opposite. He’s lightning fast and super smooth. He’s very outgoing, with a theater degree and years of audition and improv experience. Quick-thinking. I completely covet this quality.

It’s pretty amazing to watch as he processes the rude behavior and comes up with the best witty comeback possible, which he delivers perfectly every time. Oh, how I love to live through him.

There’s a Seinfeld where George Costanza comes up with what he thinks is the perfect response to a rude comment long after the moment is over, that response being: “Oh yeah? Well, the Jerk Store called, and they’re all out of YOU!”

So sometimes I have this Costanza Moment, because, like George, I never think up the good response in time.

I seethe later, of course, once I am no longer in my shocked stupor, and it hits me that someone was mean to me. We’ll even mockingly quote the Jerk Store line in my honor. But my husband never has a Costanza Moment. It’s impressive.

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Driving home from the grocery store, the Cult came on my iPod. I like the Cult. Their song Love Removal Machine came on and I remembered that one of the first bands I was in (The Glitter Kicks) covered it. I had forgotten.

We were an original band, but we worked up a cover song every once in a while for fun. 867-5309/Jenny by Tommy Tutone. Voices Carry by ‘Til Tuesday. Roxanne by the Police. The Wait by the Pretenders. There was talk of Fugazi’s Waiting Room, but that never came to fruition. Would have been cool.

We played Love Removal Machine for the first time live at a weird show we’d booked in which we were the only pop band in a line-up of metal bands.

Two really hard, loud metal bands played; then it was our turn. We were nervous.

The crowd was dressed in black, lots of long hair, and we were pretty sure our band would not receive a warm reception. We started the set, and were correct in that assumption. Then we pulled out Love Removal Machine.

I watched angry faces light up in recognition. Yeahs! were yelled. Fists were pumped. The crowd sang along with me. We had them, if only for a moment.

Because it wasn’t a movie, I didn’t get carried across the bar in a celebratory crowd surf, as the worlds of melody and metal came together in a loving musical hug or anything like that. I’m sure they still thought we were a flimsy pop rock band. But it seemed like the animosity was gone after that.

Whew. Thank you, ironically named Cult song.

***

I’m going to go work out now while I have the chance, maybe paint a wall or organize something. It’s an exciting life I lead, I know. Don’t be jealous. Don’t be a hater. Just go ahead and have a beautiful day anyhow, my friends.

 

A Vagina Full of Peeps and Other Touching Easter Tales

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(Originally posted after Easter 2009.)

Yesterday, I made my husband pull the car over so I could grab a large pink Easter egg off the side of the road. He was annoyed and mildly repulsed by my impulse.

“I’m going to see you walking along the side of the road pushing a shopping cart someday, aren’t I?” he later asked me.

We spotted the egg on the way to his parents’ house for an Easter dinner gathering. Big, at least seven inches long, and pastel pink. I said, “I want to go back and get that egg!” He refused to stop the car.

I obsessed on the way into his parents’ house, “It might have had money inside, or a severed hand or something cool!” He rolled his eyes and we went in to greet his family, my son running ahead to assume doorbell pushing duties.

Hours later, when we left, I decided that if the egg was still there, I had to grab it. My curious brain would be going full-blast for the rest of the week if I didn’t find out if there was anything inside.

***

I do this a lot. It’s one of the more irritating facets of my personal brand of crazy; most of the time, I have endless questions galloping through my brain that must be answered. Must. Be. Answered.

I can’t merely observe life; my mind has to take it to the next level every time. I have to know why and how and who and when and where and the sociological implications of such, no matter how trivial the subject might seem. I have been told that I missed my calling as a forensic scientist. (Usually by someone trying to tell me in a very kind way that they want me to shut the hell up. But still. It counts.)

For these reasons, Google is one of the best things ever invented, as far as I’m concerned. I call it the “SEE? I’m not crazy!” engine. (Example: “There WAS a television show in the seventies called ‘Lucan’ about a guy raised by wolves! It ran for one year. SEE? I’m not crazy!”)

***

We pulled up to the stop sign turning out of the neighborhood, and across the street sat the egg, nestled on the muddy embankment. Waiting for me. Why did the crazy lady cross the road? Such jokes whispered themselves mockingly inside my head.

“It’s probably just an old, deflated balloon,” sneered my husband.

“I saw seams! It’s not an old balloon, it’s plastic! I SAW SEAMS,” I snapped back.

I had to run in the rain, across a busy-ish street to get it, but I waited until all cars had passed and sprinted. I grabbed the big pink egg and raced back to the dry car.

Inside was a note that said: “Way to risk your safety and well-being for a stupid plastic egg, you moron.” I looked around for the cameras in anger.

Okay, no, just kidding. I thought that might be more exciting than the truth, but I cannot tell a lie. It was indeed a plastic egg, but not the kind that opens, the kind you might place in your front yard as an Easter decoration. Like, next to the plastic goose statue you change into festive holiday outfits. I was disappointed, of course, but at least there wasn’t a severed hand inside, right?

My husband said, “You probably just stole the calling card left behind by the Easter Killer.”

I laughed and replied in my best police officer voice, “Yeah, Sarge. We found this body in the woods near the side of the road… oh, the humanity. But we have no idea why the vagina was stuffed full of Peeps? Odd, that.”

Which might have been a little bit funny in a dark humor sort of way if I hadn’t spelled out the word vagina. Spelling out words kind of takes the punch out of a punchline, I have noticed since having a child.

But my son was in the back seat and I didn’t feel like trying to answer the “What is a vagina, Mommy?” question just yet. He immediately asked, “What are Peeps, Mommy?” so it was a good call.

We got home and put our son to bed, sweating, twitching and riding a sugar high that kept him up chattering and singing in his room for hours after we tucked him in. Ahhhh, holidays. Why are they all synonymous with sugar?

I scrubbed and disinfected the giant pink egg. I gave it to my son to play with this morning. He wasn’t very excited about it. I probably should have rolled it in candy.

I hope you had a hoppy Easter, my friends.

 

(Just deal with it. I will never call it anything but “Hoppy Easter” no matter what you say or how much you groan. It is so ridiculous, cute and awful to say this, that it circles back around to awesome in my head.)

(Speaking of bad puns, a girl in sixth grade who hated my guts often wore a shirt with bunnies on it that said: “You’re no bunny ‘til some bunny loves you!” and it haunts me to this day.)

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Open Letter to Kraft Macaroni & Cheese

Dear Kraft Macaroni & Cheese,

Oh, we are such grand old friends. You and your delightfully versatile pal Ramen Noodles were there for me in college, and I will never forget the way you kept me alive during the more financially bereft phases of my existence. Never.

We even endured the English boyfriend together, and his irritating way of referring to you as “Kraft Dinner” instead of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. We mocked him by saying “Kroooffft Dinn-ahhhh” when he left the room while rolling our eyes at each other conspiratorially because he was nearly 30, yet couldn’t drive a car. And remember how we laughed when he bragged about his accent like it was some sort of girl magnet, when really, he’d been in the states for over a decade and was obviously trying so hard? Poor insecure little man. Oh, we had fun making fun of the “Brit-iot,” didn’t we?

But the honeymoon is over, I’m sorry to say. I broke up with the loser who mispronounced your name mostly because I was tired of chauffeuring a large man-child around Los Angeles, as pushing a stop pedal and a go pedal were apparently beyond his skill set. Now I am also breaking up with you, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. I do feel worse about dumping you than I do for leaving the aforementioned ex-boyfriend, in case that helps.

The first reason I must bid you goodbye is that I have a child now; a child who would eat you for every single meal, if allowed. I cook you so often that I am ridiculously sick of smelling your hot, milky cheese and starch smell. I am nauseated right now just thinking about you. “Hot Dairy” would make a great band name or lactation fetish pornography title, but I’m pretty sure there will never be a Scentsy© candle.

The second reason is that since giving birth, simple carbohydrates seem to make me instantly gain weight. It’s a bit horrifying. I merely look at your bloated, white pasta-ness and poof! There go the thighs again. It’s like my ass and thighs are in some sort of middle-aged expansion competition, and I can’t pick a winner.

So as you can see, it’s just not working out between us anymore, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, but thanks for the years of service and loyalty. You were there when I needed you most, and I’ll never forget that. It’s not you, it’s me. I swear.

Also, tell bread to call me… we need to talk.

-Tawni