Tag: social anxiety

My Trashy Neighbors Part 1598

(Writing from September 12, 2010. The neighbor I wrote about giving the kids marshmallows as an after-school snack would later encourage her daughter, who was overweight, much taller, and a grade older than my son to bully him for being neurologically atypical. Try to act surprised.)

***

My weakest subject in the school of parenting is socialization. I’m shy, and this simply does not work when you have a very outgoing little boy.

My 4-year-old son is in kindergarten with other kids 8:30-2:30, five days a week, and still wants to play with someone when he gets home. I was a loner kid, and don’t understand this at all.

I am home alone during his schooling, and often feel I could use more alone time. I have almost always lived alone, since I moved out at 17, and in relationships, often stayed at my own place for space. I require a lot of silence, yoga, and long, centering walks, so as you can imagine, motherhood has turned me into a nervous, twitchy mess. It’s a living.

So here’s my neighborhood dynamic: we have a few nice moms with a 2-3 kids each on my street. We tried group play dates for awhile, but that petered out after a few months when one mom decided that we were close enough friends to start coming over to my house unannounced, which I find nervewracking and rude. Call me southern, but my mama taught me better than that.

I finally started completely avoiding her after she came by unannounced to leave her baby with me because her husband accidentally took the carseat to work with him, and she needed to shop for a birthday present for her mother. I’m not even kidding.

First of all, babies scare me. I know that now that I’ve had one, I’m supposed to be over my fear and grab any squirming infant that I stumble across, cooing with confident glee, but it didn’t happen. I have no baby experience other than my son, and was relieved when he came out of me weighing 9.5 pounds because it made him seem so much less fragile than other newborns. I’m not a baby person. I’ve accepted this.

Secondly, this particular baby was hugely attached to his mother and cried nonstop when anyone else tried to hold him – even his own father. And she knew this, because she’s the one who told me.

Thirdly, who does that? I don’t think she even knew my last name at this point. Who just leaves their kid with someone they don’t really know? Here, lady across the street with whom I’m on a first name basis, please unexpectedly take my child who will cry nonstop while I am gone and watch him for a few hours. Enjoy!

When I told my husband about it, he said, “Why couldn’t her husband just drive the car seat home during his lunch break? That’s what I would have done.”

Right?

Anyhow, that was the end for me. Plus, with my 1 kid to their 2-3 each, I was really never going to win at the trading babysitting services game, was I?

So I stopped answering the door when she would knock, and excused myself out of the playdates.

The part that makes me feel like a motherhood failure, though, is worrying that my son suffers because of my social weirdness. I don’t want to play nice with the neighborhood mommies, but these are the people with children, so he is deprived of playmates. All because I don’t want high-maintenance friendships with women that will eat into my precious alone time. And because I don’t want to watch other people’s screaming infants, with no notice, for free.

Can you blame me?

So with this in mind, a few evenings ago, when my son was begging me to play with the neighborhood kids across the street as they raced down the sidewalk on their bikes, I let him. I put on his helmet, helped him cross the street with his bike, and away he went.

I dragged a fold-up canvas sports chair into the front yard, stuck a beer in the cup holder (my husband was home – I don’t drink on the job otherwise), waved at the moms a few houses down across the street to whom the gaggle of children belonged, and tried to relax.

Within seconds, I noticed my son had stopped biking with the other kids. I stood up to see that he was hovering near the mothers, drinking something. Sighing, I walked down the street and crossed the road to see what he was holding.*

It was a Capri Sun. Which I never give him because it is high fructose corn syrup and water with a tiny splash of juice thrown in so they can very largely plaster WITH NATURAL JUICES on the front (http://www.cspinet.org/new/200701081.html). I was annoyed, but realized they were just trying to be nice, since the other kids had the drinks, so I thanked them. (Yes, I’m a non-confrontational pussy. I think we already covered this.)

I allow occasional treats, and don’t want him to grow up with a later-in-life addiction to sugar because he was deprived as a kid, but there is so much high fructose corn syrup in everything that I make a point of reading all labels and buying the versions of foods that don’t use it (HFCS-free peanut butter, jelly, ketchup, and juices, for example).

I don’t think they should have given my child something unhealthy without asking me. I would always make someone else’s child run and ask their mother. But then I was the socially-challenged weirdo sitting in my own yard rather than hanging out with them, so I wasn’t really there to be asked. Fair enough.

I told my son that I would keep the drink for him and he could come over to our house if he wanted to drink more so he could go back to playing. Because I am a very polite liar. I walked back to my house and threw the rest of the Capri Sun away. We were going to have dinner in a while and I didn’t want him to be full of corn syrup water.

I sat back down to observe. Within minutes, my son was missing from the bike gang again. I stood up and noticed he was holding a bag of something and eating from it. I figured it was potato chips or something. Again, not a food I keep around or give my kid, because at his age, they don’t eat much. When he does eat, I want it to be good quality food so his growing body gets the nutrition it needs.

(This seems blatantly obvious to me, by the way, and I am constantly shocked by the junk food I see people feeding young children. Gee, I wonder why health problems related to poor diet and obesity are such a growing problem in our country?)

I let it go on a few minutes, thinking he’d get bored and put the bag down any minute, but I soon realized he was just going to town on that bag of whatever. He was going to completely ruin his appetite for dinner, so I once again got up and ambled down the street to investigate.

It was a bag of marshmallows. Motherfucking marshmallows. My son was shoving mini-marshmallows into his mouth as fast as he could. When he saw me coming, he knew the jig was up and started cramming them in faster, until he could no longer talk without spitting marshmallows.

Best part: the woman who apparently gives her children marshmallows as a snack was just telling me a few minutes before about how her husband is having heart trouble and diabetes-related issues. This woman has a college degree, so I was blown away that she couldn’t see the connection between her horrifyingly unhealthy snack selection and poor familial health.

So my son had high fructose corn syrup water and marshmallows for dinner that night because he wasn’t hungry anymore when we got home. Gross.

And I decided that, mommy guilt be damned, that is the last time I’m going to let him hang out with the neighbor kids.

Yes, because I am flawed and psychologically uncomfortable hanging out with people I don’t know simply because we have procreation in common.

But also because I love my son, and I want him to grow up knowing how to eat healthfully and take good care of his body so he won’t have weight issues, heart problems and type 2 diabetes.

It has finally sunk into my thick skull that no socialization is better than negative socialization. I’m not failing at motherhood, as I feared. Not at all. Because every decision I make is based on what’s best for my kid.

And also, these are not my people. These are my trashy neighbors, and I don’t have to hang out with them simply because we bought homes near each other. I can choose my friends based on who they are, not their location.
Eat yer vegetables, kids.

xoxo.

 

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Pollyanna Loves Swim-Up Bars

I did something right today.

This may not seem like a big deal to you, but I’m really bad at all things social interaction, and I actually helped a stranger feel better today, rather than just making them feel uncomfortable.

Go me.

Seriously. I have noticeably alienated every one of the other kids’ mothers at my son’s school who have tried to talk to me. It’s a real problem. I get nervous, blank out, stutter, and freeze up. And then the weird things come out of my mouth, like some sort of poorly done German film noir I have to watch in mortification, while I have the usual brain self-dialogue.

Oh my GOD, what is wrong with me? Why did I just say that? Why can’t I say normal things like normal people? Why would she want to know that? You’re so fucking weird, Tawni. Stop! Just stop now, while you’re ahead. Shit. No. Why didn’t you just stop? See? You’re just making it worse. They’ve got the freezy eyes of discomfort. You made another one have the freezy eyes of discomfort. She’s trying to politely escape. The eyes are flicking around wildly, searching for an escape. Congratulations. You’ve turned yet another human into a frightened horse trapped in the stable of your social ineptitude and insanity. Let her go. Save yourself! Run from me! I’m a fucking monster! Be free, horsie! Balls. Why do I talk… ever?

Anyhow. A guy was dropping off his daughter at my son’s kindergarten this morning. It’s a small private school. The kindergarten classroom is upstairs, and consists of fifteen kids. The teacher is amazing. Very smart, hands-on and loving. I adore her. More importantly, I trust her.

I hugged my son goodbye, and he started immediately working on some artwork. I have always been blessed with the most nonchalant-about-my-departure child in the whole world. He never went through the separation anxiety phase he was supposed to, and has always given me a cheerful wave, hug, and see you later when I leave him with others. Not a single cling. I got so lucky, and am immeasurably grateful for this little mercy, as I am a huge pussy a total empath. I honestly don’t think I could walk away from my crying child, even though I logically know it’s okay.

As I was walking out the door, I noticed one of my son’s classmates, a little girl, because she was sobbing big, weepy sobs while the teacher hugged her and helped her put her coat and backpack away. I looked up in time to see her worried daddy going down the stairs, obviously feeling awful about leaving her there crying.

I was on the flight of stairs above him, and we met eyes. I gave him the Ugh Face, and said, “It’s so hard to walk away when they’re upset like that, isn’t it?”

He looked so sad. He looked like he was about to cry. And as I mentioned above, I don’t really know what it’s like to walk away from a crying child fraught with separation anxiety, because my son has never had any, but it seemed like the thing he needed to hear.

He nodded, and I said, “The important thing to remember is that she will have completely forgotten about it and be playing with the other kids in about thirty seconds,” and I smiled gently. He smiled back.

Well I’ll be damned. You seem to have said the right thing for once, dipshit. No freezy eyes of discomfort! You even got a smile on his face!

We were both headed to the front doors leading out to the parking lot, but someone cut me off because the women who bring their kids to this school are rude, oblivious bitches busy people with places to be, but he made a point of holding the door for the women who cut in front of me, and held the door for me too. When I made it to the door, he looked me in the eye and said, “You have a really nice day,” with a grateful smile.

I told him to have one too, and walked to my car with tears in my eyes because I was so fucking happy to have helped make somebody feel better. I helped! I helped! My inner Pollyanna was hugging herself and leaping around clumsily as I drove away.

And then, when I picked my son up from school in the afternoon, someone had brought their new puppy upstairs to the kindergarten, and she let me hold it for, like, five minutes. I made someone sad feel better AND I got to hold a puppy today! It was a good day.

I like to think I’m complicated, but sometimes I’m pretty simple inside.

***

My husband won Sales Rep of the Year again at his work. He also won last year. He’s really good at his job. You’d be surprised at how useful a drama degree is in sales.

With the award comes an incentive vacation that the company chooses every year. Last year it was an Alaskan cruise. I was not spoiled enough to not be excited about a free vacation, but really, honestly, if you asked me what my dream vacation might be, somewhere cold and still in the United States while trapped on a big boat with the elderly masses and the rotovirus would not have been my first choice.

We had a good time. Of course. Alaska was gorgeous. I saw whales. We got the honeymoon we never had with 24-hour room service included for free. And it was especially nice after four years straight of parenthood without a break to not be a small person’s bitch-servantmommy for an entire week. But my husband and I both got deathly ill as expected. It took three weeks, two sets of lung x-rays, and a few rounds of antibiotics to get me back in ship-shape afterward. (Ahhaha. Ship-shape. Get it?)

So you know. I’ve been poor my entire adult life. I’ve never been able to afford vacations. I was genuinely happy to get Alaska.

But wait. It gets better.

This year, the incentive destination will be… drum roll… COSTA RICA!

Or Costa Fucking Rica, as my husband called it when he sent me the confirmation text that he had won the trip.

Costa Fucking Rica.

I can’t believe it. This is a vacation spot I would have chosen. I am a warm weather girl all the way, and grumpily wait for spring every winter under an electric blanket, with a stack of books next to my bed. I am so ridiculously excited about this vacation. I scream inside with excitement every time I think about it.

Costa Rica! Eeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Here are some pictures of the beautiful resort at which we’ll be staying:



My husband is excited about the golfing opportunities. I might actually be a very brave girl and go to the spa for the first massage of my entire life.

I’m really weird about strangers touching me intimately. The whole idea of a massage sounds so sexual and intense to me that I’ve been afraid to get one my entire life. How do you turn that part off? How do guys not get boners during massages? If someone is rubbing me like that, it’s kind of on, you know?

And heaven help me if my masseuse is attractive. I got a really hot gynecologist at Planned Parenthood once, and it nearly ruined me. I turned red and splotchy and could barely talk to him as he stared into the depths of my nethers. If he hadn’t already seen my vagina, I would have given him my number. Humiliating.

But I want to move past this. What kind of a freak has never gotten a massage? I can’t die without ever having gotten a massage.

The website also mentioned a swim-up bar, and I decided that there really isn’t a more perfect creation in the whole wide world than a swim-up bar. I would have a swim-up bar in my living room if I could afford it.

So if you’re going to be in Costa Rica this summer, come join me for a drink. You know where to find me.

Dear Diary #572

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572. That’s a random number. I don’t know how many times I’ve actually taken to the Internet to ramble about the mundane details of my life to nobody and everybody, depending on how bored the people of our fine planet may be, but it’s probably not in the 500 range. I’m a liar. Sorry.

I call these ‘Dear Diary’ entries because they’re extremely random, and make me feel much like a 13-year-old girl whining in my journal. It’s a living.

I’m writing. I haven’t done this in a long time. I’ve had a bad case of the why-the-fuck-should-anybody-care-about-your-stupid-life writing yips, and I’m trying to move past it. I write words for me, just like I used to write songs for me. It’s cathartic. If someone wants to read it, cool. If not, also cool. I used to not give a shit what anybody thought because no matter what, I was being authentic. I wrote songs because I had something I needed to get off my chest, not to impress anybody else, and I need to get back into this mindset.

This is not a fuck you mindset, just to be clear. It’s a fuck me and my stupid insecurities mindset. Fuck me. Stop caring what people think, you big dork, I say to myself. It’s only life. Don’t take this, yourself, or anything too seriously. Someday none of this will matter, so don’t let it get inside your head and matter now.

Nothing matters. Say it with me, kids. Nothing matters. And everything matters. All at the same time. Nothing and everything matters. Now who wants cookies?

This is also why I turn off the comments beneath my writings. Because I’m not writing to chat about or listen to notes on my feelings, and I’m definitely not wasting precious time responding to trolls. I’m writing because I feel better inside after I write. The end.

And because hot damn, I need a creative outlet. A stress outlet. A nervous energy outlet. A pull-up-the-lid-and-let-out-some-psychic-steam-before-I-explode outlet. Kindergarten through high school, I took dance classes or danced in my bedroom until I was soaked with sweat, sang in every choir class I could take, and I sat in my bedroom endlessly singing to music. In my 20s, I lifted weights, I ran miles, I learned guitar, I wrote songs, played guitar and sang in bands… and then I had a child. Insert screeching brakes noise.

My musical life stopped as my child and heart grew. But my brain never stopped moving. And my brain will slowly drive me crazy if I don’t give it anywhere to go. My brain is a hyperactive child tugging at my sleeve trying to show me all of the things in the world while pulling me in infinite directions all at the same time. My brain never stops. Viva la ADHD.

My brain then demanded I start writing words because pretending to be a poorly-aging rock star in crap bars doesn’t work so well with the whole breastfeeding and being the mommy thing. And I suck at drawing, painting, and art. So words it is, for my much needed creative outlet. Lucky you.

***

I’m about to take an Internet hiatus because the political screaming and racism all over social media and news sites has been doing my head in. I hate to hide when I need to be a voice, but I’m no good to anyone when I’m an anxious mess. And if I see one more hilarious hashtag with the word “matter” and ANYTHING in front of it except “blacklives” I am going to throat punch someone. People’s children are dying and that shit’s not funny. Check yourself.

Another stressor: my husband is in the process of scheduling hip replacement surgery, so I’ll need to be strong as he goes through the operation and months of physical therapy afterward. I’m going to be single-parenting while taking care of my healing life partner and two cats, and I don’t see anywhere jacking around on social media sites can reasonably fit into that schedule. Without the throat punching feeling, I mean.

***

I take these breaks to secure peace of mind from time to time, but this is the first time I’ve decided to put my computer away and completely abstain. No email checking. No Facebook. No news sites. Nothing.

I have a cute little writing-only laptop I use to work on the book a chapter at a time (you know… THE BOOK all writers are working on forever), and it doesn’t allow the Internet, so I’m going to write on that. Only that. I’m forcing myself to be productive and stop playing in the comments sections of Facebook, hoping for peace and productivity. Fingers crossed.

(Humiliating aside: I once said “Fingers crossed!” in a meeting with a college advisor who happened to have a hand condition. It looked like a possible thalidomide-related issue, as her fingers were fused, leaving her two on each hand. She typed faster than I do, and I was genuinely impressed. And then, because I’m an awkward idiot, I used the term “Fingers crossed!” about being able to finally finish my degree, and then I died inside a lot. We exchanged a look. There was a pause. And then I died inside some more. And this is why I don’t like to leave the house. Because I should probably not talk to anyone ever.)

***

My husband isn’t 70, by the way. We’re both middle-aged. We remember where we were when we first heard Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” song. He was really active in his youth, damaged his hip joint, and that caused a bad condition called avascular necrosis. (You know… the Bo Jackson/Brett Fav-rahh thing?) A lot of football players and people who throw their bodies very hard at not-soft surfaces have his issue.

This is because pretty much, when you beat the shit out of any part of your body, the tissue dies. Avascular = blood flow. Necrosis = death. Damaged bone loses blood flow, and the bone eventually dies. So my husband is on crutches and in pain. He had an MRI that revealed his hip has withered away and he needs the replacement he was hoping to stave off until retirement, which is over 20 years away. Didn’t quite make it. (He’s 6’5″ and gravity is a harder on his bones.)

He had a surgery in 2001 where they drill into the bone and try to make it grow back stronger, to no avail. He was on crutches for eleven months after that surgery. (He learned to play guitar and cook really well during that time, from which I now benefit.)

We checked out his MRI, and rather than looking smooth and round like the hip ball joint on the other side, his right hip ball looks like the surface of the moon. After mice have chewed on it. Giant space mice, I suppose. Anyhow, it looks bad. So the main body part thingy that holds him up on the right side is crumbling, and he can barely sleep because what used to be an often-pain is now a constant-pain.

It’s hard to watch someone you love in constant pain. I’m moving into depression when I need to be not-depressed for someone who needs me, because I will not selfishly make my poor husband’s dying hip about me. I’m really fighting the urge to slip back into the “my mom has stage 4 cancer” depression cocoon I crawled into a few years ago to join my good friends Netflix and too many carbs in a melancholy quest towards unnecessary weight gain. This means I’m drained, pissed off, and looking for an excuse to take out my frustration on anyone who fucks with me… and it’s definitely time to get off social media. (At least I’m mature enough to recognize this about myself, even if I can’t quite fix it. Sadly, this is progress for me.)

My Depression Netflix Jam was all seasons of Gilmore Girls during my mom’s cancer battle; this time I’ve been enjoying House, M.D. when wallowing freely about the cabin. I have been on my own financially since barely-17 and could never afford cable, so I didn’t bother with a TV. This means there are many shows and culturally significant events I completely missed. Thusly, I’d never caught an episode of either of these shows before Netflix. God bless Netflix.

With the need to be stronger than usual, getting away from the soul-draining bigotry, xenophobia, and other awful stuff online seems like a step in the right direction. I’m also grabbing naps without guilt where I can, and getting to the gym for gentle cardio. I might start yoga again. I’ve been reading a lot. I’m doing things that build me up, because the world seems to want to tear us all down right now, and I can’t handle that.

***

I’ve been spending a lot of time putting articles I wrote and sold when I worked in native advertising on this site because I have them on an external hard drive, but nothing lasts forever. I want to have them safely somewhere else for storage, and also, if I decide to write for a similar company again someday, I’ll have an easily accessed example of my “articles for people without much time to read” here for them to peruse.

I used to call them “articles for dummies” because the format is so basic: bold subheadings, numbered lists, titles that let the potential reader know there won’t be a huge time commitment involved if they click, etcetera. That’s the point. But they convey information I avidly researched and tried to present in a somewhat interesting manner, so I don’t consider them articles for dummies: I consider them articles for busy people.

You say “clickbait,” I say “people don’t want to spend 30 minutes reading long essays anymore… deal with it.” Technology is rapidly changing the average American attention span, whether we like it or not. (I actually don’t like it, but I accept it. I rebel against the dying of the attention span by reading multiple books a week and raising a child who loves to read.)

The job was great training for me, because as I’m sure is apparent while you skim this hot burst of my current brain steam, I’m a rambling writer. I write very stream-of-consciousness style, and don’t bother editing if it’s not a professional piece. But the native advertising job forced me to write within a 700-1000 word format, and it was excellent training. Concise has never been my strong suit. I can admit it. (I can also pose the question, “Why does everything need to be concise?” Can’t a girl ramble once in awhile without being shut down? WHATEVER, OPPRESSOR.)

***

My son has been nominated for the National Elementary Honor Society, which is really great because it’s not only offered to kids who get straight As; they have to meet behavioral standards as well. He’s working grades above average in all subjects, but this can often lead to boredom and disruptive behavior, like not being able to sit still or talking out of turn. So I was more impressed by the behavioral standards being met than the academic requirements. I tell him all of the time that there are many people out there with smart brains, but the person who works the hardest will win the job over the big brain every time. Work ethic > intelligence.

His teachers have also had to ban him from the computers because he hacks into them and changes the code. And they’ve told us verbatim that the FBI or CIA need to recruit him now because he’s so smart. I should feel proud, but I’m a little bit scared because we have no idea how to navigate the “learning about the online world versus keeping our child safe” conundrum. So that’s not causing me anxiety at all. Nope. No red wine being consumed in alarming rates in this house. Not here.

Anyhow… that’s my latest. If you’re reading this, I hope you’re well, friends.

xoxo.

 

P.S. I took a stupid Facebook quiz recently, called “What Is Your Subconscious Hiding?” and I got this:

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I laughed pretty hard at this result, but probably for the wrong reasons.

Join me?

 

 

 

 

That Time I Watched Live Football and ESPN Filmed Me

(Writing from 2009.)

***

My husband David and I left our son with his beloved grandparents yesterday, and made the road trip to Norman, Oklahoma to watch OU play Texas Tech. The husband graduated from OU, so Boomer Sooner! is oft-chanted around these parts.

We got to walk around his old college stomping grounds. He was awash in nostalgia but kept his promise to not tell me about every sandwich he ate with whom at this place and that, like he does since we moved from Los Angeles.

(We now reside in his home town, and because he grew up here, he has memories. Oh, so many memories. After about six months of, “And that used to be a field,” I found myself sarcastically thinking, “Okay, Grandpa Dave. A lot has changed and you did a lot of different things here way back when. I get it.” It has become a personal joke of ours—he starts talking about some experience from twenty-plus years before, and this is my cue to mock him with some sort of, “And then you ate a sandwich right there, under that tree, with your old friends Dick Tickle and Randy McNuttlicker,” type of comment.) (He doesn’t regret marrying a smart-ass. Not at all.) (No, really.)

The campus was swarming with people carrying beers; anticipation and cigarette smoke filled the air. This was a huge game, as undefeated Texas Tech was number two, and beating them would no doubt raise number five OU in the college football rankings. A victory would be very, very good.

It was really crowded, and after receiving about five shoulder bumps from strangers, I made it clear to David that I would really like to have one of those bottles of tranquilizer everyone seemed to be holding, please. I’m high-strung (you say neurotic, I say tomato… juice with vodka, damn it) and a bit jumpy, so I don’t do well in large gatherings.

To satisfy my thirst for liquid courage, we stopped at Brothers, a bar my husband frequented in college. It was a dark little place with drawing paper on every table, artwork crafted by past students attached to the yellowed ceiling tiles. The one above us was drawn by some military fellows and featured Gumby riding a missile with a poem about getting that bad guy Khadafi.

There were also collages all over the walls featuring thousands of tiny photographed drunken twenty-something faces. My husband pointed to an area by some booths and said, “The picture of my friend and me is over there somewhere,” and I showed amazing restraint, refraining from making my tired sandwich-eating joke. We contemplated walking over to ask the people in the crowded booths if we could look for my husband in the pictures, but decided not to be those people. He went to the bar and bought a shirt instead.

Here we are at Brothers:

I’m already drunk in this picture. The smirk is your first clue.

 

Two beers and some fries later, I was feeling really good. The booze eased me directly into going-with-the-flow mode and my social anxiety was gone. Thank you, beer, for your years of service. I don’t know what I’d do without you (besides sweat and startle constantly in public with crazed eyes, searching for an escape route or potential weapon, I mean).

We meandered through the other drunks. I only occasionally worried about my child when I saw little boys in the crowd to remind me of him. If you have one, think back on the first few times you’ve left your kid for an entire day and night, and you will understand. (Those of you without children, just know that having a child means you will never have your brain to yourself again for more than little half-hour chunks at a time. Their well-being and present place in the world consumes you. Forever. It’s pretty heavy.)

We found the Billy Simms statue on campus that stands where my husband’s college rental party house once stood and took his picture next to it. (At least it didn’t used to be a fucking field, right? Yawn.) The statue is so gigantic it dwarfed my 6’5″ husband.

See how it dwarfs him? Dwarfs, I tell you:

Dwarfs. I really just wanted to say it one more time.

 

David’s cell phone rang and it was one of his buddies, also in town for the game. He invited us to join them at the “Sig Ep Tailgate Party,” so off we went.

The party was actually on campus under a tent near the Sig Ep house. I wasn’t Greek in college and have no idea what Sig Ep is short for, so I’m just going to keep calling it that, okay? (Sigma Epsilon?) (Signaling Epilepsy?) (Significant Episiotomy?) There was food, beer and every type of liquor imaginable. People were doing shots. They offered shots to me and I laughed out loud. I am of the Shots Are For Young, Childless People mindset, but thanks.

My husband’s friend pointed out the vegetarian chili to me, but just coming off the carbo-bloat of two beers and some fries, I declined. I did help myself to a beer from the beer trough, however. Yes, beer trough. The big metal containers intended for providing water to livestock. We had them on our farm. I always get a kick out of seeing them used in other ways.

I had two beers and trotted my teeny little bladder over to the nearby Sig Ep house to pee twice. It felt just like college, sans date rape. I later regretted the decision to skip food for more alcohol, as I have the tolerance of an Amish eight-year-old, but soon it was time to head for the stadium. We bundled up in the warm things we’d brought and started our walk.

I walked behind my husband and the neighbor; his lifelong friend had an arm around me as we followed them. It was very sweet. I adore every one of his friends. If you can judge a person by their friends, I chose my mate wisely. My husband has kept the same group of guy buddies from childhood, and I think it is the most amazing, precious thing. I honestly don’t remember what we talked about, but spirits were high and we were giggling like buzzed teenagers when we parted for our separate seating areas.

David decided to use the restroom once we got in the stadium. I berated him for not using the line-free Sig Ep bathroom before we walked and he whined about “maximizing his pee removal” by waiting until the very last minute to go. Sigh. He got in line and I waited against a cement pillar by the entrance.

His bathroom journey allowed me fifteen minutes alone to be hit on by a guy in a brown fringed leather jacket.

“Do they pay you to stand here and look pretty during the games?” he asked.

“Are you calling me a WHORE?” I spat in reply, right before I punched him in the trachea. He fell to the ground, coughing and clutching at his throat.

Okay, that last part didn’t happen. But he did hit me up with that cheesy line. My actual reaction was to repay him for his cheesiness with the frozen smile of polite terror that I seem to have perfected in this lifetime, and he walked away. It’s a living.

The husband came back and I told him Bon Jovi just tried to pick me up. He laughed at me and my good fortune. We headed to our seats, which were only eight rows up from the field. Cool. We watched the players come running onto the field. The crowd absolutely roared. And I’m not just using fun words to describe noise; it was insanely loud in the stadium last night.

The OU coach, Bob Stoops, issued a challenge by stating to the press that he didn’t think OU fans could be loud enough to affect this game. That was a really smart move on his part. The “Oh no he didn’t just say that” factor can really motivate the masses sometimes. Nothing makes us want to do something like being told we can’t; it’s human nature. (This is why playing hard to get totally works. Give it a try sometime and watch them fall under your spell.)

It was amazing, the energy in the place. All those people cheering for the same thing. Oh, if we humans could only unite over other issues facing us the way we do over sports. But I don’t care if it was “just” football, I have to say it, I had goosebumps all night long. It was so exciting to be a part of it.

The team coming onto the field:

Do you feel it?

 

Then the ass-kicking began. Poor previously undefeated Texas Tech didn’t stand a chance. The raucous crowd of nearly 86,000 was obviously getting to them psychologically. They played “Jump Around” and we jumped around. They said “Make some noise!” and we did. I gave myself a headache, screaming so long and hard. (You are allowed to giggle whenever I type “long and hard” by the way. It’s okay. We’re all friends here.)

There was a Texas Tech player, a big guy with tattoos on his arms and major face paint, who was taunting the OU fans at one point and trying to get his own team ready for battle. The OU fans purposefully drowned him out with shouting and yelling. “Shut up, Braveheart,” I commented dryly to my husband. The angry player soon pulled the helmet over his colorful head and gave up.

We saw Brian Bosworth walking along the sidelines. My husband did a loud Will Ferrell as Harry Carey voice, “Hey! I just saw the BOZ,” and all of the males in the vicinity turned and laughed at him. He’s a bit of a ham, the husband.

The BOZ:

That’s the back of Brian Bosworth’s head, between the long-haired girl and the dude in yellow. He walked with arrogant purpose. Cocky. It made me dislike him instantly.

 

We also saw the stoner kid from American Idol, (Jason Castro, I want to call him? I’ll Google it.) (Okay I Googled, and I guess he’s from Texas, so maybe that’s why he was here? We thought he might be hanging out with David Cook.) He was standing on the sidelines and they put him on the big screen for a second. We found him in real life on the sideline, walking with a girl. They were holding hands. She wore a brown messenger bag. Probably not full of weed or anything. Nope.

I am often fascinated by the little worlds within worlds; the subcultures of which we are unaware unless we are immersed in them. The cheerleaders got my attention this time. I found myself watching them between plays, wondering if the boys were dating the girls, or maybe dating the boys, and studying their interactions with each other.

One cheerleader seemed sad, and she was the only one without the big fake clown smile plastered on constantly. She already had multiple worry lines furrowed across her forehead, even though she looked to be about fourteen. I named her Sad Cheerleader in my head and wanted to hug her. I wondered what could make such an adorable person so miserable. Maybe the cute jeans she wanted only came in a humongous size two? Did she get assigned the wrong cheerleader boy to lift her and throw her about? Maybe the one she had a crush on was tossing another girl into the air?

I watched Insecure Cheerleader, a blond who wasn’t quite as anorectic as the others; she self-consciously flipped the waistband of her pants down to minimize her belly as she was being lifted into the air. She fidgeted with her waistband constantly. I thought “Wow, I would think you’d have bigger things to worry about as you are being chucked into the atmosphere,” But then I realized that the maneuver was probably like brushing her teeth, she’s done it so much.

There were two cheerleaders that I am sure were sleeping together, Flirty Cheerleader and Straight Boy Cheerleader. They kept bumping into each other and other such grade school grab-assery. It was entertaining to watch. I decided that cheerleaders probably have fantastic sex, what with all the gymnastic training and flexibility.

The Game Day guys from ESPN were at the game, and we saw them filming on the sidelines. We also got on television, if you were watching early in the game, when the cameras scanned the crowd. Luckily we record every game, so we found the exact moment and took pictures of the television to send to our relatives. I’ll post those at the end of this blog. I’m wearing my new black parka. Try to contain yourselves. I’ve wanted a parka for around nine years now, and finally realized this dream in time for the OU game. I know, I know. Congratulations are in order. Right after you check out my sweet parka goodness.

The Game Day guys, filming:

Yeah, um, dude in the blue stocking cap? Vincent Gallo called. He wants his sneer back. Thanks.

 

The game was an absolute blow-out, in case you don’t follow college football—Oklahoma 65, Texas Tech 21. Just brutal. Afterwards, Coach Stoops walked over to the student section and bowed, then gave them a game ball. He was quoted in the paper as saying, “That’s the way fans should be. I’ve always envisioned a loud and raucous crowd to influence a game, and they sure did tonight.”

The scoreboard from hell, or heaven, depending on your allegiance:

‘Nuff said.

 

We got home around 1:30 a.m. so my husband is taking a nap right now along with my son. We had a really great time, so I wanted to share my latest “sports from a female perspective” story. I haven’t done this since the PGA tournament last year, so it was high time. (Somewhere out there, Jason Castro’s ears just perked up and he doesn’t know why. “High time? Wait… what? Get your messenger bag, babe.”) I hope you had a wonderful weekend as well, my friends.

I’m the average-looking redhead in the really incredible parka with the faux fur hood. My husband is next to me in white. He refused to stop watching the game to ham it up for the camera. He also asked me to clarify that he does not weigh 275 pounds as it appears, he is merely wearing four layers of clothing for warmth.

 

Note: the lady to the left of me. She was sitting a row down from me, but hopped up to wave her arms in front of me for the camera. That smile on my face is the carefully disguised rage of a woman whose shining moment is in danger of being usurped. Do not usurp my shining moment, bitch!

 

Don’t you wish your parka was hot like mine?

 

Hey, look at my mom, the Attention Whore! Isn’t she funny?