Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ugly Lesbian Driver

It probably wouldn't surprise a lot of people that I have a nasty case of road rage. In my day to day life I'm usually pretty laid back, even keeled; it takes a lot to make me mad. Put me behind the wheel of a car, I turn into a slobbering rage monster. Go ten miles per hour below the speed limit and watch me lean out my window, one hand on the horn and the other extended high in the air in an angry #1 while I scream about how they should know their mother in the biblical way. All of my mid-western repressed, Baptist, anger has to go somewhere; so I take it out on the road.

So if someone is going too slow, you ask, what if there is a slightly more elevated infraction? For example, say someone cuts you off in traffic? Well have I got a great story for you.

It was a beautiful afternoon in Seattle. A rare hot and sunny day, and I had to be in Greenwood by 1:00 pm for my friends vow renewal ceremony. It was going to be a great event, because her entire family was going to be there, and she counted me among them. It was such a privilege to be invited, and I couldn't wait to be a part of it. Since I live in West Seattle and I knew that there was going to be traffic on a sunny day, I thought an hour would have been long enough to get there.

It was not. 

Two and a half hours of construction, closed lanes, closed highways, street fairs, block parties, tourist traffic, accidents, and idiot drivers who aren't familiar with the concept of a turn signal to inform other drivers of where the hell they want to go is what I had to get through to get from Admiral Way to 85th and Greenwood. To put it in New York context: I had to get from Brooklyn to Central Park. It shouldn't have been a difficult feat, but every asshole on four wheels was on the road that day, and one asshole in particular was gonna get it.

After spending two and a half hours in automobile purgatory I had finally made it to 85th. I was in the left lane passing a long line of cars on the right, going at a careful pace in case someone should cut me off. Exactly as I expected, some d-bag in a blue BMW cut me off.

Quick sidebar: if you drive a BMW, I'm sorry, I don't mean to offend. That being said, 90% of every driver that has ever wronged me on the road has been in a BMW. Let this be a warning to all BMW drivers: don't let your car turn you into an asshole. Let this be your cautionary tale.

Back to the offending BMW: this guy cut me off, and I almost hit him. That was his first mistake.

I was beyond tense after spending such a long time on the road, and after he cut me off I did was almost anyone else would have done: I honked my horn. His reaction was to waggle his fingers at me in a dismissive, "whatever, I don't care, I drive a BMW", kind of fashion. That was his second mistake.

He then started slowing down, as we were approaching a green light. He didn't have a turn signal on, and the closer we got the more he slowed down. We finally got to the green light and he came to a dead stop. As soon as the light turned yellow, he zoomed through the light. This was his third mistake, because I constantly run red lights.*

I charged through the light and managed get into the right lane to pass him. At this point my anger has elevated from Mount St. Helen to the white hot center of the sun. As I started to drive past him I noticed his window was down. I also noticed my window was down. I then noticed the cup of ice in my cup holder, left over from an iced latte. As I became parallel with his window, I grabbed the cup of ice and chucked the ice into his window, where it met direct contact with his stupid face.

VICTORY! I showed him! That is until he followed me down the street I turned down to get to my friends house. I didn't want him to follow me, and I wasn't going to get away from him in a high speed car chase in Greenwood, so I pulled over to face the music. I also figured since he was driving a BMW he probably didn't own a gun. I don't know where that logic comes from, but when I think of BMW owners I don't think of gun toting psychopaths.

He pulled up next to me and rolled down his window. I rolled down my window. He was relatively young, buff, broad-shouldered, not bad looking, dreads that touched his shoulders, probably a Seahawk player, which made me hate him more because I hate the Seahawks.** He leaned in toward me and the following conversation ensued:

Him: You feel better now?

Me: You know what? I do! I feel great.

Him: You wanna tell me why you felt like you had to do that?

Me: Do you want to tell me why you felt like acting like an asshole after cutting me off? You almost caused an accident and then had the gall to drive like a jerk! So you tell me?

Him: Well...too bad you're not a cuter lesbian.

With that last remark, he drove away.

Now, I'm left with two reactions to this remark. The first reaction is: I am the CUTEST lesbian! I'm so freaking cute, Ellen DeGeneres put a hit out on me, so don't challenge my cuteness. I. Am. CUTE.

The second is this: if I were a cuter lesbian, in his clearly broken eyes, then what? What does that even mean? If I were a cuter lesbian, then he wouldn't have cut me off? He would have been nicer to me? He would want to bang me? Would I let him bang me if I were a cuter lesbian? Would this have been the moment he changed me from being a lesbian and we would fall in love and get married and he would get me my own BMW so I can be a douchebag and cut random people off?

So many questions!

How would my life have been different if I were a cuter lesbian? This the big question that I need an answer to. That being said, I've compiled a list of how my life would be vastly greater if I were a cuter lesbian:

If I Were a Cuter Lesbian

1. I would, clearly, have many many girlfriends.
2. My iPhone battery would last longer.
3. My pillows would be softer and my mattress would be firmer.
4. I would have the same hanger to clothes ratio.
5. My hair wouldn't get frizzy on a humid day.
6. I wouldn't get nearly as many parking tickets as I do, which is a lot.
7. My bagged salad wouldn't wither before I can eat it.
8. My roommate would do her dishes, and put her trash in the trash can, instead of leaving it on the counter.
9. Comcast will let me have just HBO, and not have to get any other channels.
10. Janky, Seahawk looking, BMW driving douchebags won't cut me off and say misogynistic things like "Too bad you're not a cuter lesbian.", with the assumption that if I were a cuter lesbian that he would find me attractive and want to be with me, thereby validating my attractiveness and self-worth.

I am the cutest.

*Note to the Seattle PD: this is not a confession, this is satire. You'll never get me coppers!
**Yeah, I said it! WHAT?? I got a cup of ice with your name on it too!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Skater Haters to the Side

I had a long list of career choices when I was a kid, which was always met with a long list of reasons why I couldn't pursue those career choices.

I want to be a chemist!
You can't be a chemist, you're terrible at math.

I want to be a lawyer!
You can't be a lawyer, it's too much school.

I want to be an astronaut!
You can't be an astronaut, there are no women astronauts.
What about Salli Ride?
Well she's exceptional. Are you exceptional?
Heck yeah I am!
Well you're too fat.
Guess you're right...

One of my career choices was born at an Ice Capades show in Denver and died on an abandoned skating rink floor.

In 1985 my folks took me and my older brother to our very first Ice Capades show in Denver, Colorado. In the eyes of a five year old girl, a dream was born: I will do this. The costumes. The spinning. The twirling. The whimsy. The SPARKLIES! I looked at my mother with wide eyes and she said, "Is this something you would like to do?" Well of course it was.

After that I became obsessed with ice skating. I was in love with Scott Hamilton and the way he commanded the awe and attention of everyone in the arena as he flawlessly glided across the ice. I wanted to leave people struck with awe and wonder with my icy ballerina moves. 

It's safe to say I was a typical middle child who desperately craved attention. Soon after my dream was born my younger brother was born and my status of "youngest and special-est" was downgraded to "middle-est and stay out of the way-est".

Strangely, despite the fact I wanted to be an ice ballerina, I never touched a pair of ice skates. I would practice my Flying Camel skating up and down the street in front of my house. I wore my shortest skirt I had over my leotard, eyes closed, one leg gracefully stretched out behind me and arms raised in front of me; as if I were reaching to the audience in my arena to embrace them in my delicate arms as I offered them my gift of the frozen dance. In my head, I was Scott Hamilton. Scott Hamilton in a skirt. 

My favorite weekend activity was going to the Skate City next to where we lived. I would spend hours there, skating in circles. Now I want to be forthright: here on earth, I was by no means a talented skater. I was terrified of using the brake system on my skates, after a one-time incident of using them at high speed and getting thrown several feet onto the pavement. When skating at home my method of stopping was throwing my body onto the nearest patch of grass. At the skating rink I would stop myself by slamming into the carpeted wall on the opposite end of the floor. I also found that attempting a Flying Camel on roller skates was a foolhardy goal, since roller skates do not pivot on the ground nearly as well as blades do on ice. I never let this stop me, though. I was determined to be the most beautiful roller skater at Skate City. Arms stretched out, leg raised behind me, everyone there was an unknowing member of my loving audience. 

Anyone who is familiar with skating rinks is also familiar with the myriad of activities that went on there. The Hokey-Pokey, the Happy Birthday Dance, Simon Says, and most importantly the speed skating competition. I never really attempted the speed skating competition; my purview lay in substance, not speed. For the speed skating competition to start everyone had to exit the floor to make way for the challengers. Every time the call for everyone to exit the floor came, I would attempt to stretch out my time on the floor on my own so everyone standing on the sidelines could sample my talents; however, as soon as the lights came on, that was my prompt signal to get off the floor. 

One Saturday afternoon, when I was nine years old, my family took one of our usual excursions to the Skate City. My older brother, bedecked in a Broncos t-shirt and rat-tail haircut was huddled in the corner of the floor with his friends, and my parents were taking slow laps around the rink with my little brother. I was lost in my fantasy, taking turns around the oval, practicing my backward skating with one leg raised and my arms stretched out, lost in the music, which was more than likely Kokomo by the Beach Boys (admittedly my favorite song at the time). I started to notice as the music played on that people were slowly leaving the floor and crowding around the sidelines, but the lights weren't coming on; so I kept on skating.

I kept taking my turns around the floor, adding movement, gracefully flexing my arms in front of me. Since Kokomo was playing I would occasionally incorporate a little hula hip sway here and there. I was owning that floor and I was not going to stop until the song was over. Every now and then I would catch my mother's gaze, and she had such a huge smile on her face. My heart skipped a beat every time I saw her smile, because I felt like I was finally making her proud of me.

Reality was trying to break it's way in to my little fantasy skating dream; I could hear my brother and their friends making snide comments every time I passed them.

Get off the floor tubby! It's time for speed skating! Move it pudding belly!

Reality was not invited to my skating party. I was in a heaven of my own making, because I didn't just want to be a skater: I wanted to be seen. Seen for something other than a chubby little girl who is constantly falling down on her skates. I wanted to be seen as something beautiful and graceful, and being a chubby little girl, I was never referred to as beautiful or graceful.

I stuck through the entire song, and as a finale I decided to attempt my flying camel. I stretched my fingers out in front of me, and slowly lifted my leg behind. I attempted to pivot into a turn, but I fell. I got back up, got momentum, stretched out again, turned, and fell again. I attempted this three times, and on the third I heard an audible "Awww!" from the sidelines. I didn't have their admiration. What I did have, was their pity, and as a bullied, chubby, middle child, I was willing to take it. I stood up, took one last lap around the floor and skated to the sidelines, straight into my mother's arms. She hugged me, stroked my long blonde hair and laughed, "You are so sweet Prissy! You were beautiful."

In the disco lights, and heavy smell of feet and nachos, I thought I was beautiful too. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

And we're BACK!

Well howdy ya'll! It's been awhile, no?

Awhile back I decided to scrap the weight-loss journey concept of this blog. I read back through old posts and fell in hate with the person writing them; it was all self-pitying, despondent tripe. In addition, I was writing for the wrong reasons.

When it comes to my own personal journey of caring for myself, and my body, it's just that: personal. I was not, and still am not, prepared to shine a light on the most painful struggle of my life on a public forum. I may allude to it from time to time, but to write about it on a daily basis became too frustrating and too vulnerable for me.

I asked myself recently: why do I like to write? What is it about writing that makes me feel complete? I thought about my father, and how he loves to share stories. They could range from mundane to barn burners, but he always tells them with the enthusiasm of someone who cares about the listener's experience. When I write, I don't write just to make myself happy, I want to make someone else happy. I want to share stories that can excite, titillate, or provoke thought in the person I am telling the story to.

So that is why I bailed on my blog, and that's why I'm back shifting the focus. I just want to tell stories. If you want to know how I'm doing, feel free to ask.

Just an update; recently my favorite podcast, RISK!, came to Seattle for a live show. I was very excited to have my submission picked to be read for the live show and podcast recording. I will eventually post it here on the blog when it's posted. It was not only a wonderful experience to share my story, but it was also inspiring to hear the other storyteller's travails. I insist that if you enjoy podcasts or if you don't, give this podcast a go. You will hear stories that will run the gammit of human experience and it will inspire you. Do it.