And a happy new year to all. Welcome to 2015, folks. The year of flying cars and hoverboards. Robert Zemeckis owes us an explanation.

The last three weeks have been spent in the lush, green, mystical land known as Gainesville, Florida. Being from Seattle, visiting (what I consider to be) the deep south requires a bit of a cultural adjustment. I have a feeling Floridians would be miffed at the idea of being considered a part of the “I do declare, Miss Scarlett” demographic, but meh. ‘Ts what ’tis.

In my three weeks here, I’ve found myself taking note of the distinct differences between circumstances here versus their counterparts at home.  Some items of note:

  1. People here are nice.  As in genuinely, pleasantly, amazingly, cordial-level nice.  They are so nice that when I return to Seattle, everyone will be utter and complete assholes by comparison.
  2. People walk *very* slowly here.  This I find to be simultaneously frustrating and admirable – I think all of us could benefit from slowing down a bit.  Life is way too hurried these days.  At least mine is.
  3. You can buy as many fireworks as you want on New Year’s Eve.
  4. Helmets are not required by law for cyclists nor mopeds.  Initially I reacted with concern, as in, “they’re going to be fined!” until it was explained to me that in Florida, people are permitted to exercise free will.  No one died (in my observation), and I also noticed that fewer (i.e., zero) people wore helmets when not mandated by law.  Seattle, you are the helicopter parent of the northwest.
  5. Motorists on the freeway have learned how to drive expeditiously and rapidly in a cooperative, cohesive fashion.  The same volume of cars on the freeways from Tampa to Gainesville would have, in Seattle, resulted in a four-mile backup and droves of WSDOT tweets.  In Florida?  Everyone sailed along at the same pace like a school of fish.  Smooth like buttah.  Again, Seattle: take note.
  6. The public transit system does, however, leave little to be desired.  I did note that several buses advertised “Walmart” as their main destination selling point and that Walmart did indeed have several bus stops dedicated to transporting people from BFE to lower prices.  Another phenomenon I witness was that, much like the S.L.U.T. in Seattle, Sarasota is not without its own embarrassing naming conventions.  Behold the S.C.A.T.:scat
  7. Recycling:  Unlike the totalitarian recycling regime adopted by the northwest, Florida rarely has recycling bins and if they do, they don’t have the recycling police rummaging through your refuse in an attempt to fine you for some compostable indiscretion.  Again, metropolitan helicopter parenting.
  8. Lizards:  There are many.  They are adorable.  I did manage to catch one, but he opted for a suicide attempt instead of embarking on our burgeoning friendship.  Sad.
  9. Humidity.  I hates it.
  10. Blue Bell Ice Cream:  Oh dear universe thank you for having this sweet, sweet bit of high school nostalgia available to me for the holidays…BlogPicIceCream
  11. THIS is not Christmas weather.  =/  BlogPicXmasWeather
  12. Thunderstorms.  Never do I sleep as well.  BlogPicThunderstorms
  13. I have no idea what this bug is.  All I know is that my first impulse was to KILL IT WITH FIRE!!  BlogPicBug
  14. God is big here.  Like, huge.  During our stay in St. Augustine, while in the hotel, 75% of all stations on the television were some sort of evangelical programming.  En route to aforementioned St. Augustine, we passed a sign that read, “Welcome to Hastings:  where GOD is GOD and SIN is SIN.  In other words – “we’re watching you…”
  15. The University of Florida is Gainesville.  Everything is Gator-related.  Half the town is hosed in blue and orange.
  16. License plates:  Never have I seen a state with more specialty license plates.  I honestly don’t know how the police keep track.  Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 3.44.11 PM

That’s all I have for now.  I’m fairly certain more will occur to me on the plane.  It’s been a nice break from the insanity of Seattle, and spending time with my boyfriend and his siblings and their kids and their dogs and their friends has been much needed and appreciated.  I don’t often take vacations and often forget how much a reboot is needed from time to time.  I’m taking notes.  :)

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I utilize public transit to get to-and-from work. I live in Seattle, work in Bellevue. Hence the bus. If I had to drive in this traffic, I’m fairly certain attempted vehicular manslaughter would be a rather unfortunate by-product. But I didn’t come here to talk about the traffic.

One phenomenon I have been privy to is the “commuting bag lady” syndrome.

Allow me to explain.

Imagine a woman…say, late 20’s to mid 30’s. Hair well-coiffed. Expensive shoes. Immaculate eyeliner. Likely a gel manicure with an oversized diamond adorning the left ring finger. The color of the manicure was most likely selected due to the complimentary nature of the rock.

Bag #1 – On her right shoulder. Large-ish. Bulky. Indeterminate contents, densely packed.
Bag #2 – On the same shoulder, intermittently colliding and becoming entangled with Bag #1. More on the slender side. Squarish. Approximately 20″ or so in width. Kevlar or nylon material.
Bag #3 – On the opposing shoulder (or carried in her hand): A smaller bag. Italian leather. Obviously designer. This bag deserves its own shoulder due to aforementioned colliding and entangling.

Theories, hypotheses, and blatant stereotypes:

Bag #1: Gym bag. Contents: Gym shoes, three pairs of yoga pants, three moisture-wicking tank tops (matching the light peach hue of the gym shoes). Moisturizer. Shampoo. Leave-in conditioner. Straight iron. Deodorant, perfumed hand lotion, perhaps a bottle of 5-Hour Energy, with a bit of “desperation to be a size zero” thrown in for color.

Bag #2: Laptop bag. Contents: Laptop. Either a MacBook Air or a Lenovo 13″ touchscreen. Charger. Bluetooth mouse. Business cards in a flashy Swarovski-crystal encrusted case.

Bag #3: THE purse. The bag she never leaves the house without. The only item she wants to be buried with. Brand: Either Michael Kors, Fendi, Kate Spade, Burberry or Marc Jacobs. Contents: iPhone, charger, powder, lipstick, eyeliner, tampons, the remains of Jimmy Hoffa, keys, mascara, travel-size hairspray, Band Aids, wallet (matching the handbag), ibuprofen, perhaps some condoms. Cuz ya never know.

I admit freely that some of this can be leveraged from my own personal experience. Some of it is from my observations of women getting ready for work on the bus. (I have to confess a certain level of envy for those who can apply liquid liner while barreling down 520).
I personally prefer to have just my awesome Brenthaven backpack. To be fair, I will disclose its contents. Pot, kettle, all that.

– Laptop
– Moisturizer
– Protein shake blender cup
– Band Aids
– Neosporin
– Phone
– Chargers
– Powder
– 5 to 6 tubes of lip gloss (to understand the lip gloss issue please look here).
– Several tubes of Nuun. Usually Kona Cola or Strawberry Lemonade.
– Safety pins
– Barrettes
– Wallet/phone case
– Extra pair of socks (because ya never know)
– Binder clips
– Earbuds
– A plastic grocery bag full of mysterious unknown contents. Maybe it’s cold pizza. Maybe it’s rotten vegetables. Or maybe it’s the shattered pieces of my former life.

So there ya go. Theories, stereotypes, excessive use of hyperlinks, Oxford commas, and personal information all in one blog post.

Share and Enjoy.

See what I did there?

 

I think the alliteration was also a nice touch.

 

My office has the great fortune of being virtually right across the street from a Trader Joe’s.  This is ultimately convenient as I often neglect to pack a lunch and am thus able to score some fairly decent grub for under $5.

 

…like I did today.

 

Browsing the prepared food section, debating between hummus and a turkey wrap, I eventually decided upon the turkey and headed to checkout.  There’s no “15 Items or Fewer” line, so it usually ends up being a bit of a judgment call.

 

I picked the one with the friendly-looking older gentleman as he looked the most conversational.

 

Intuition, in most cases, serves me well.

 

Carl (or so his name tag read; wasn’t sure if he was pulling a Fight Club on me):  “Well hey there!  How’s your day treating you?”

–  “Not too bad, ” I replied.  “Enjoying the walk outside.  How about you?”

– “Oh, I can’t complain.”  He points to my work badge pinned to my shirt.  “Looks like you have a job too, eh?”

– “Oh yes. ”

– “Work at Microsoft?”

– “No, but I do a lot of work with Microsoft.”

– “Ah, see; I’ve always admired you folks.  I was dumb and got my degree in English.  See how that turned out…”

– “Oh, excuse me good sir,” I said.  “I got my degree in painting of all things.  I think that’s actually one step above and English degree in terms of practicality.”

The look on his face mirrored what I imagine a college guy’s face looks like when the girl he’s sleeping with tells him she missed her period.

– “No, what?!”

– “Yessir.  With a minor in Art History, even.”

– “How long have you been doing your current job?”

– “Ummm…three years, now?  I was in QA before.”

– “And you’ve always been doing this?”

– “Oh heavens no.  Before all this I was a waitress.  And worked in daycare.”

He then proceeds to step out around the register to grab my hand and shake it.

– “You – you have given me so much hope – and I’m 70!  Thank you!  You – please, come back anytime; every day!  And make sure you come to my line!  Oh, this is so exciting; thank you!”

Not used to being a compelling, inspirational force in the lives of others during a lunch run, I humbly thank him and tell him I will definitely visit him again.

– “Wow…” he says.  “What a great day.  You have a fantastic weekend, young lady!”

I smiled and wished him the same.  Except for the “young lady” part, for obvious reasons.

 

We live in a culture where more often than not, women base their self-esteem on how they look, compliments they receive, men who flirt with them, earning the envy of others; and as a result they find themselves in constant mental competition with each other, based solely on superficiality.  As I’ve gotten older (and subsequently come to accept with the aching joints, crow’s feet, and gray hair) I’ve made it a point to remind to myself that who I am is not how I look.  Who I am is the sum of my experience, my accomplishments, the people and love I have in my life, and what I give back to the world.

It’s good confidence strategy, I feel.

unnamed

 

Oh, and this is Coby.  Coby is a Puggle.  He was tethered to a signpost outside Trader Joe’s.  He had the sun in his eyes, hence the squinting.  His dad says he’s a spoiled brat.  Given that I set aside 10 minutes of my lunch to play with him, I believe it.

 

 

 

 

 

There is a woman on the bus. Mid twenties maybe? Has one of those voices that makes you wonder how she has any friends.
Speaking of her friends, I think she must have called every single one of them during the trip from Bellevue to Seattle.
Because she is sitting right next to me, her screeching voice on a repetitive loop in my ear. I think something has ruptured in my skull.
I’ve had fantasies of grabbing her pink encased iPhone and tossing it out the window. Or cracking the screen and handing it back to her with a non-apologetic, “oh, I think you dropped this…”
Her phone deserves the reprieve. I would estimate that her friends do as well.
She says “or something like that” at the end of every sentence. Every.sentence.
…or something like that.
After making the entire population of Sound Transit 550 aware of her weekend plans, her cousin’s job, all the clients she has. Her sister’s kids…she did take a break from shrieking in order to liberally apply perfume.
Perfume.
On the bus, people.
The 550 now smells like a baby prostitute.

(I’m blogging this as it occurs).

She is now using the reverse camera feature on her phone to preen her eyebrows and is – I swear to god – making a duckface.

I may have to kick her where she pees.

As much as I enjoy messing with callous and entitled people, I can’t help but wonder if karma is gonna take a big ole chunk outta my ass someday.
Woke up way too early so figured I’d capitalize on the extra daylight and commute in a bit early.
Also to reduce the number of public transit anomalies, as the crazies typically don’t get up this early.

If anything, life reminds me to assume nothing. Regularly.

In the Westlake transit tunnel, waiting, as I had just missed the previous bus to Bellevue.
The train comes through, as well as the 101 (I always see that bus going to the convention center and that’s it. Seems like the most pointless route ever.)
Eventually, a stern-looking, rotund older woman stands next to me, staring at me as if I’d just thrown her cat under the aforementioned 101.

A moment passes. She pokes me on the arm.
Removing the earbuds I have in place to avoid people in these exact scenarios, I look down at her quizzically.

– “Yes…?”
– “Hey! Heeey. Did the train come already?!”

I then decide this woman spends her life in capslock mode.

– “Yes. Yes it did.”
There’s a perfunctory stomping of the foot, some profanity, then the inexplicable:

– “Well, why didn’t you TELL me??”

Praising my innate ability to be a smart-ass on the fly, it doesn’t take me long for this one.

– “I tried, but you never answer your phone”, I said, unapologetically.

I am presented with the look of confusion and borderline panic I was hoping for.

– “What?! Wait, how’d you get my phone number?”

I pulled out the business card for the orthopedist I was given at my appointment yesterday that was conveniently tucked into the side pocket of my backpack. I examined it.

– “Oh! This isn’t your card. Ha! That’s hilarious. My orthopedist is going to be confused by that voicemail…” I let out an “oh I’m just so silly!” giggle.

– “This place is full of fucking crazies!!” She hollers, trotting off.

Yes. Yes it is.

Confession: I have been orchestrating a worldwide pandemic during my commutes to work.

Oh, don’t look surprised.  You had to be expecting this.

If you would like to taste the sweet, sweet flavor of genocide for yourself, feel free to check it out here.  Available on iOS and Steam for Mac and PC.  To be thorough, I have it installed on my iPhone, iPad and laptop.  You never know when you’ll be compelled to infect millions with a delirious fever and projectile vomiting at a moment’s notice.

My first attempt involved a concrete, intellectual strategy and was approached in all seriousness.  Think “The Hot Zone” or “Outbreak”.  After a few failed attempts (Greenland and Canada, looking at you) I decided to have some fun with it.  Because liquefying internal organs is, after all, hilarious.

Douche

Campaign 1:  “Douchebaggery”.

As I live in Seattle, I felt this was seemingly appropriate.
Douchebaggery, though successful in its ability to spread easily from one person to the next, ultimately proved to be non-lethal and the Canadians developed a cure.
Hipsters everywhere exhaled a sigh of relief.

 

 

Stupidity

Campaign 2:  “Stupidity”.

Stupidity seemed to have greater success.  Stupidity evolved much more quickly than Douchebaggery, had a much quicker transmission rate, becoming airborne and able to withstand extreme temperatures.
Unfortunatey, I was again faced with disappointment as the Germans developed a cure in 1,654 days.
I suspect subterfuge.

 

 

 

MomSpread

Campaign 3:  “Your Mom”.

Oh, what?

Oh, Yes.  Yes I did.

yourmomSomehow Your Mom managed to circumvent the failures of my previous two campaigns.  Your Mom spread quickly, evolved slowly, and after two years began to kill at an accelerating rate.

Your Mom was a diabolical force of nature and due to the symptomatic evolution of the disease managed to cause insanity, delirium, and ultimately, complete mental and physical collapse.

Eventually it because clear that there was simply no way to stop Your Mom.

 

 

Lessons learned:  Your Mom is far more deadly and ubiquitous than either Douchebaggery or Stupidity.

Postscript:  Thanks to the current Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, I find myself taking in news articles on containment measures being utilized by local governments and thinking to myself, “huh…so that’s why I failed to infect Greenland…”

O_o

 

I commute daily to work via public transit. Whereas this may be an unimaginable scenario for some, I enjoy the opportunities it affords:  I can listen to music/podcasts, read, catch up on email, or, as is most often the case, pass judgement on other passengers while making mental notes to bring up in conversations later.  Because people are fucking hilarious.

Consider the following:

Waiting for the bus at the Bellevue transit center.
There are pay phones. One of which keeps ringing.
I answer it. Because I love a chance to mess with people.
– “Hello, Bellevue Transit Center.”
– “Huh?”
– “You, my friend, are calling a pay phone at the Bellevue Transit Center. Stop it. ”
– “Who is this?”

(It is at this moment I notice an older man in a suit making a valiant attempt to hand bibles out to sinners during their commute. He has been eyeing me cautiously ever since he saw me answer the phone.  I have an idea.)

– “This is Jesus.”
– “Whoah, what?”
– “Jesus. You know. As in the son of god. Wanna hear a parable?”
– “But…Jesus is a dude!”
– “Sexist!!” I hung up.

He didn’t call back.

This is a post I began long ago and has since been rotting in my ‘drafts’ folder.  So, publishing it now.  Enjoy.

Let me start by getting this out of the way first – yes, I have used online dating.

I escaped (barely), but not without learning some terrifying things about not only humanity, but myself. For example – I am capable of far more creative and colorful profanity than I originally would have thought.

As many of the single 30-something women of my generation in Seattle are painfully aware, dating in this city is somewhat of an agonizing enterprise. Men, in general, are either socially inept, easily intimidated or exceptionally selective. Or grammatically impaired, which in my case, is an automatic deal-breaker. If a well-meaning suitor sends me a message full of “u” and “ur” and “2” instead of “two”, etc., my interest automatically wanes and another small part of my soul weeps at yet another example at the slow degradation of the English language.

I’ve often described my online dating adventures to male friends of mine only to be met with looks of incredulity. Apparently, whereas women simply ignore them, men take the opposite approach and just say whatever comes to their damn minds. #YOLO, I suppose.
(Note: these are *actual* messages I have received. From complete strangers, mind you.)
– “I got what it takes 2 romance u.  For reals, I do.”
– “look at my pics girl,you’d be dying to be all over me,be honest haha,you cant deny i’m hot.”
– “Im gon’ milk the magic out of you!”

Some additional examples.  Apologies for the low-res images…I’ve since deleted my OKC account.

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 4.19.16 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 4.20.00 PM

Thankfully I am now in an amazing relationship and am spared this never-ending onslaught of ridiculousness.  Revisiting this post only makes me appreciate my fella all the more.

And ladies, if you’re out there, dealing with this hilarity – never fear.  There is someone amazing out there for you.  It only took me six years of online dating to find mine.  ;)

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