Saturday, June 28, 2008

stolen cars, road trips, bad paint jobs

My friend roped me into helping him hand out fliers for a new local restaurant outside the long-established local homeless shelter. I spent about two hours standing there in the cold and snow, only to discover that my friend had been sitting inside the restaurant the whole time.

He felt really bad about the whole thing, so he stole and hot wired a really shitty car for me. "It's all yours!" he said, and I putt-putted off into the night.

For some reason, driving a stolen car made me really uncomfortable. The first chance I got, I ditched it on a suburban street and wandered around until I was totally lost and would never be able to find it again. Then I found myself an equally shitty bike and rode it to my soccer game in Golden Gate state park.

After that I had to go on a road trip with my family. We got stuck in traffic just outside Detroit, so we got out of the car and sat down in the median with a large group of German exchange students. They were singing boisterous German national anthems, and it drove us nuts.

Eventually we managed to make our way to our actual destination, a very small political convention at my parents' neighbors' house. The neighbors made us dinner and pulled out the sofa bed for us. The next morning, my grandfather and I spent about half an hour trying to figure out how to put the couch back together. Then I had to repaint all the walls in their family room. I chose tar black, and came up with the brilliant idea of pouring it on really thick at the top and letting it drip down. Unfortunately, it didn't stop dripping when it hit the bottom of the wall. It leaked over onto the floor and formed strange goopy paint formations. I crawled around on my knees, trying to scoop up the extra paint with a spoon before it could dry. Everyone else was in the kitchen eating breakfast. It sounded delicious.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

snakes and authors

One of our authors hired me to reorganize his work space, so I took the train upstate with some of my coworkers to check it out. The place was kind of awful. It was a one-bedroom ground-level railroad. The author slept in the back, then rented out the bedroom during the day to a college student who only went outside after dark.

We all arrived the night before and crowded together to sleep in the bedroom. Then the college kid arrived and tossed all our stuff into the main office. Already the place was a disaster. The author and his employees did most of their work huddled in the kitchen area, piling stacks of paper precariously along the edge of the counter. I suggested moving the main work area over to a large and unused table in the middle of the room. They were skeptical, but decided to humor me.

The author stayed over by the kitchen. He seemed to be cooking. I had been hoping he would be working on the book he owed us. Then random people started trickling in off the street and placing sandwich orders. The author explained how his office doubled as a deli at lunch time to bring in extra cash.

After the lunch rush, we went outside to check out the store front. The front wall of the building appeared to be plastered with stickers from stock racing teams and skateboarding retailers. It was hard to tell what the building was supposed to be.

I was about to explain the importance of easy-to-read signage when my boss came running around the corner screaming. There was a large orange snake wrapped around his neck. The author seemed nonplussed. "We don't have any poisonous snakes around here," he said, and went back inside to make more sandwiches. That didn't console my boss, who continued to scream and run laps around the building.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

escaping, cheating, celebritizing

I had to attend an event for work at the President's Club, some sort of exclusive secret society where celebrities come to watch variety shows at the top of a fancy hotel.

We came with Matt Lauer, who was having a hard time getting in. He kept saying, "Don't you know who I am? I'm Matt Lauer!"

The people at the door shrugged. "To be honest," one of them said, "I don't think you're famous enough, Matt." I had to help some people carry in some equipment from the van, but when I got back we were clear for entry, so Matt must have demonstrated enough celebrity credentials, or paid off the bouncers.

Upstairs, the room was packed with famous people, but not the ones you would necessarily expect. I saw Mariah Carey, and George Clooney (actually, he probably is one of the ones you'd expect). I didn't recognize the rest of the people, but I assumed they were famous for things I didn't know about. I haven't been keeping up with People and US Weekly lately.

All that famous in one place kind of freaked me out. It freaked out my coworker, too. We decided to make an early exit, but we were worried people would see us and realize we weren't famous. We knew that would mean big trouble. Unfortunately, the elevators would only come if you had a registered celebrity ID, so we were kind of stuck. We stood by the elevator bank looking around nervously until another celebrity arrived and we were able to slip into the elevator as he got out.

I was so happy when we got out of that place. But then I ran into my friend, who confessed to me that she was cheating on her boyfriend with the guy I'm dating. I couldn't tell if she knew I was dating him, but I acted supportive anyway. "You're just doing what's right for you," I said. In truth, I was really mad at her. Her boyfriend is a great guy, and I couldn't understand why she would ever do that to him. It seemed very out of character for her.

Only later did it occur to me that I should have been mad at her for sleeping with my boyfriend.

Monday, June 9, 2008

eww, eww, eww

This one is a little grosser than usual...

I was a living skeleton, somehow still alive despite losing all of my non-bone body mass aside from a little bit of skin, which covered some of the bones. I also had hair, and a tongue, which lolled dryly out of my skeletal mouth like layers of moldy filo dough. I couldn't really move much, but sort of shrugged around on a couch while people discussed me in the kitchen. "It's amazing she lived to be this way," someone said. "Most people die long before they reach the skeleton stage. It's because it all happened so slowly." The other one said something about anorexia, and when I heard what had happened to me I was so embarrassed.

Then I was myself again, sometime before all this happened, looking on. There's no way I'm going to let that happen to me, I thought. I love food. I looked at my normal-ish body in the mirror, but already I could see that I was losing flesh. Not in a uniform way, but in chunks missing from my abdomen and arms. My skin puckered over the submerged holes like cellulite.

Suddenly I had horrible diarrhea. It seemed like it was never going to stop. In fact, it never did stop. At some point I realized it was probably time to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

driving, walking, tricked

My parents just bought a house right next door to Steve Jobs, on a densely treed street somewhere in Birmingham, Michigan. So maybe I screwed up a bit and stole my parents' car and drove without a license and got caught. And so now I had to walk home with Steve Jobs' kid, who I wasn't actually even aware existed until now, when we were walking from somewhere many miles away from home. I didn't even really know where we were going, but I kept my spirits up for the kid's sake. By the time we walked past that cemetery further down on Woodward, we were both pretty pooped. I called my parents and asked for a ride. Steve Jobs was over, I guess having tea with my parents or something. When he heard where we were, he insisted my parents come pick us up, so mini-Jobs and I stood by the side of the road waiting. My parents were there pretty fast, probably because we were only two blocks from the house. Good one, Steve Jobs.