Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Can Smell Ants

Something you don't know about me is that I can smell ants. No seriously--I can smell them. There is a little colony of them living in my computer, so clickety-claxing on my 5-year-old MacBook means I have to kind of suffer through ant stench. Like right now I'm suffering.

When I was a kid we lived in central California where there were all these oaks that were great for climbing. Unfortunately, they were covered in these big, shiny black ants which absolutely reeked. Sometimes I would climb the trees anyway until my nostrils started burning. Those were good times.

I didn't know not everybody smelled ants until recently. Bryan's always been pretty quiet on the subject. Usually when I walk into the kitchen and ask, "Do you smell ants?" he responds with a carefully considered, "umm, no." It never occurred to me that he didn't know what I was talking about.

However, this evening we were eating dinner out on the porch and I said something like "Yurch, it smells like ants out here," and Bryan closed his eyes, put down his fork very slowly and said, "Whatthehellareyoutalkingabout." It only took like eight years to get around to asking me that. So I found an ant, caught it and held it up to his nose. "It smells like your finger," he said.

Anyway, you're not really missing anything if you don't happen to have my superhuman ant-smelling power. It's gross. Like being able to smell all the farts in a mile radius or something.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The World According to Casey

One person very dear to my heart is my ex-husband Casey. Casey lives on the Oregon coast and recently started a coffee roasting company. When I told Jane this, she wrote some exciting new text for his website:

I carefully roast my coffee one bean at a time so that I'll never, ever have nothing to do. I'll bring each coffee bean to your house on my bike, hand delivered each hour on the hour. I don't care where you live.

And that pretty much sums up Casey: if you're doing something the normal, efficient, time-tested way, you're doing it wrong.

Case in point: I was his first wife. We got married when I was 24 and he was 25. A year later, the lawyer who handled our divorce asked us very earnestly whether we were sure we wanted to break the sacred bonds of marriage when we couldn't stop giggling over the task of signing the divorce papers. A year after that, Casey got married again (he doesn't want to talk about it). And then a few years after that he married Renee, whom he no longer lives with, but refers to as his "Best Friend-Wife." Now he's dating a really nice lady named Melissa who seems genuinely unconcerned by the fact that he's been married three times at the tender age of 34. I can imagine that's easy to do with Casey--he's just so charming and stubbornly optimistic and pleased by nearly everything. The other day on the phone, Casey started giving nicknames to his ex-wives, and I asked him which wife I was. "Oh, you're my Most Special Little Guy, Jess!" he said. He was being completely serious.

Anyway, thanks to the wonder and majesty of THE INTERNET, today I accidentally stumbled upon a photo of Casey that I had totally forgotten about:
That's him tenderly nuzzling that riot policeman's bosom. It was taken at the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle in 1999, and was eventually turned into a Microsoft spoof ad for Adbusters that said, "Where do you want to go today?" (By the way, is Adbusters even a thing anymore? Evidently it is, because I just Googled it and Google says it's still a thing).

So, the story behind this photo goes like this: Casey got arrested protesting globalization and corporate capitalism, which are two things that really chap his hide. And so he got tear-gassed and had to spend four days in the King County jail wearing an extra large pair of dingy underpants that weren't his, eating Beanie Weenies and sharing a cell with a dude named Gravity's Sunbeam or some crap. I didn't know what had happened to him--he just sort of stopped calling--and Jiminy Christmas, was I pissed when he got home in a hot-boxed minibus driven by a homeless person. On the other hand, Casey couldn't have been more delighted with himself.

And that, Little Ones, is the story of Casey. He could make some lucky biographer rich one of these days.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Neil Young Conundrum

One of my favorite things to do with a morning is go to The Grit and eat breakfast by myself while taking notes for the novel I’m writing that will hopefully be finished by 2034. The Grit is always pretty empty first thing in the morning and it has big, bright windows that face the street and some hipster waiters who are too cool to pay much attention to you. It’s basically like a giant, cool, dimly-lit Cave that Time Forgot.

So, I was in there on Wednesday, and it was great: I ignored the two ladies with insomnia and lactose intolerance and Celiac disease who, in an otherwise empty restaurant, chose to sit in the booth right behind mine. There was some sort of synthesizer something playing somewhere in the background, and that was fine. The waiter kept filling my coffee until I realized I had effectively consumed twice as much coffee than my adrenal system was built for—but hey, I’m an adult and that was my choice.

What ended up running me out of there was Neil Young.

Let me be clear: I really like Neil Young, and After the Gold Rush (the album the waiter put on after the synthesizer fuzz) is one of my favorites. But there’s something about Neil Young that I cannot abide except during the brief temporal window between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. I am strictly a crisp weather Neil Young fan.

Picky, picky, you say. Well, yeah—maybe. But some music is like Christmas music to me--I love Silent Night, but who wants to listen to Silent Night in April? And Neil Young is great, but it makes me feel weird to hear him in June. Actually, not just weird—I have an actual aversion to it. It’s literally the same feeling I get when I’m in a restaurant and there are people making out—like seriously going at it--at the table next to mine. It makes me uncomfortable.

Why, friends, do you think this would be? Everybody else seems okay listening to Neil Young just any old time. Please analyze in the comments.

Monday, June 6, 2011

In Which I Gain 5 Pounds

I have recently and inexplicably gained 5 pounds. I've realized this on the very day the new swimsuit I ordered off The Internets arrived on my doorstep. This, of course, has provided me an excellent opportunity to build a ton character in the past 4 hours.

Anyway, I own a scale. I didn't for a long time and then after I had Odessa, I decided I didn't want dumpy, middle-aged matronhood to sneak up on me, so I was like, "Fine, I'll weigh myself every day and that way I'll see it coming and can do something about it if I feel it breathing down my neck, fixin' to pounce."

So, I bought a scale at Target, and I did weigh myself every day for a long time--probably about a year. And the thing is, I always weighed exactly the same, no matter what I did. So about a month ago, I stopped because I was bored of it. And then today I came home from a 4 day conference and saw my scale sitting on the bathroom floor and was like "Oh, what the hell," and then I stepped on it and was like "What the whuuuuh?" And then you know what I did? I picked the scale up and shook it and set it back down on the ground and weighed myself again. And hoooooo-law, ya'll--I nearly had a coronary infarction because that time it read a mere ten pounds lighter than I was when I gave birth to Odessa, and I actually screamed a little bit in the bathroom. And then I realized I had jiggled something loose when I shook it and had to re-calibrate the scale. After I did that, I weighted myself again, and sure enough, I discovered I've gained 5 pounds in a month. Yep.

And then the bathing suit arrived and I was all, "well, let's just do this." And, you know, the top fit great, but the bottoms? Mmmmmmm. Let's just say, I showed it to Bryan, and he gave me a look not unlike this one:
Except a little more nervous because telling one's wife how a bathing suit looks has to be one of the most horrible things a man will ever have to do. Anyway, Bryan looked like that for a full 30 seconds while I blithered about how I didn't like it, and then he asked me, "Well, what do you want it to look like?"

Which is an excellent question.

So, here's the thing: I just look the way I look. In my adult life, I have weighed much more than I do now (while pregnant) and much less (during some tragic breakups), but I think I was probably the only person besides my obstetrician and/or Virginia (whose hobby is monitoring family members' weight loss/gain) who actually cared.

Nobody cares how I look. Nobody cares or even notices how I look. Except me, I guess.

So, my point is, since nobody even knows how much I weigh, it doesn't really matter. I mean, for health reasons, I wouldn't want to go on a ham sandwich spree or anything, but I'm fairly certain I'm just as good a person as I was 5 pounds ago. Anyone reading this who doesn't happen to be a lady might consider it ridiculous that I would even have to struggle to convince myself of this. But anyone who does happen to be a lady knows that there's part of my brain that's screaming at me right now from the second story of a burning house: "OF COURSE IT FUCKING MATTERS, YOU GREAT BLUBBERY COW! FEEL BAD BECAUSE IF YOU DON'T START NOW YOU'LL BE 200 POUNDS BY WEDNESDAY! FEEL IT! FEEL IT NOW!" This is because all of us grew up reading Cathy comics and the backs of Special K cereal boxes. And we continue to, you know...look at everything. Really, just everything.

So, I feel a lot of compassion for the part of me who's freaking the hell out right now because I gained 5 pounds. But I just don't want to lose my shit over this. So I'm not going to.

Wish me luck.