Sunday, March 31, 2013

In the "Leave My Face Alone" department:

You've heard of facials, right? I had one ONCE, as a gift. I sat in a slippery chair under the glaring brightness of a small sun while someone in a surgical mask (which did not confine their bad breath) peered at my skin through a giant magnifying glass and proceeded to poke, fold, jab, dig, stab, jam and lunge their fingers into my face.

It was maybe the most unrelaxing procedure I've ever had, aside from that hernia surgery that one time. It took my skin 4 days to regain normalcy from its reddened, blotchy, injured state.

So imagine my dismay at seeing this coupon deal. People PAY for this? And it's considered a DEAL?? This is like gifting someone a root canal. REALLY? I feel like creating a "Leave My Face Alone" counteroffer, where someone can pay me for the truth: "SAVE 3 hours, get a massage instead!"

I feel the same way about manis/pedis too. My feet are too ticklish to be manhandled and I cannot handle the boredom of being tended to. No thank you!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Me and my second head

I grew up in NJ, land of full-service gas stations. (This will be relevant in a moment.) Only two states in the entire U.S. offer full-service by law: NJ and Oregon. Never having pumped my own gas before, I pulled into a station one sunny afternoon, rolled the window down and announced to the attendant that I wanted to fill my tank. This is important because note that I had to actually speak to someone. Face to face. In order to get gas, the most mundane of tasks.

I flung my arm out the window to offer my credit card.

Only he wasn't interested.

Instead he stared at me, his face a giant question mark, fingers absentmindedly raking over the tall white turban resting on his head. He gazed at me as if I were a creature from outer space. A long awkward moment passed before I turned to look behind me. Was it a language barrier? A UFO landing? A cat giving birth to a zebra? A UFO giving birth to a cat?

No one was behind me.

There wasn't a single living object that could have so captivated his attention.

He stood there still staring. I asked again, this time with less certainty due to the weirdness that was developing, "fill 'er up please?"

Finally he pointed.

At my face.

Grinning slowly, he asked, unabashed, "What's THAT??"

He had an accent but I understood him perfectly.

I slowly followed his fingertip to the end of my nose, where there stood a giant red zit. A pustule pulsating happily in its glory at the defeat of the rest of my face, it knew it had won. Like the bulbous second head of a encephalic siamese twin, it mindlessly competed for visual attention through the sheer enormity of its very presence. I didn't have a chance.

A pimple. He didn't understand what was on my face because it was so large and grotesque that it was like a physical deformity. With childlike innocence he simply could not help himself from blurting out the unspeakable. Questions must sometimes be asked.

I narrowed my eyes. Brazen candor shall be met with its equal.

"It's a ZIT." I flatly replied.

He stood, shocked. That an ordinary red bump could so hijack one's face that it could become the sole point of focus was inconceivable. He took one last gaping stare before ripping his eyes away to focus on the more earthly task at hand: filling my tank.

We spent the next several minutes in awkward silence as I cursed the SLOW pump before paying and driving off in disgrace.

And then I made a slight change in plans that involved a tub of benzoyl peroxide, a car battery, needlenose pliers, a set of golf clubs and some Advil.

A moment of silence, please, in remembrance of its untimely death. But it was either it or me, and I got the brain.

(I still think THIS one was worse.)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

it's... it's... aliiive!!! (shudder). AKA, the zit from hell

(I wrote this a few years ago. I warned you about the traumatic pimple!! Due to lack of material, I will be posting older pieces. Enjoy. Leave now if you get grossed out easily!)


I really don't know how to tell this story so I'll just share with you the letter I wrote to the other half of my face:
Dear Zit,



I gave you a zillion chances.

I begged, cajoled, pleaded, beseeched, demanded, implored, prayed and whined about the release from your death grip on my face.

Did you respond?


You ignored me.

"Not ready!" you alluded, growing larger and larger until your bloated form hung off my chin like a blood-engorged tick. You even had a face.

It was not smiling.

I gave up on torturing you with sharp objects and heavy machinery and resigned myself to my fate.

I was exhausted.

You won.

This morning, I tiredly smeared foundation over your angrily pulsing form and headed off to work.

Now fast forward:

Five minutes before I have to give a talk IN a conference room with a LOT of people who KNOW me, and will happen to SEE me (specifically, my face), what happens?

There I am in the bathroom checking my teeth (there's nothing more distracting than a speaker with spinach clouding their pearly whites so I always check) when I notice you, yet again, dear Zit. (God, how could I NOT notice you?)

I lightly brush my finger over your shameful bump wishing you were not quite so visible and


You explode!

You explode and you start bleeding and there I am desperately dabbing at you going OMG not now not now!! And blood is running down my face and threatening to stain my sweater and OH MY GOD wtf IS this, it's like I just murdered a small mammal on my face! But I don't have time for you to clot!! And so I begin running down 5 flights of steps with a bloody napkin pressed into my chin, trying to act all "I'm totally normal!" while streaking around corners with my bloody rag waving like a victory flag of the deranged while pus and blood stream like drool down my chin.

So this is my question, dear Zit.

Were you trying to get me to pay less attention to how nervous I was about public speaking by confronting me with a disfiguring emergency?

If so, you won.

Ungratefully yours,

I gave the talk. I hid the bloody napkin in my notebook while up on the podium in case there was a second eruption.

My coworkers were very nice and did not mention that my Halloween costume was early and out of place...!

Also, THIS happened.

Monday, March 18, 2013

I hate bananas, being a terrible disappointment and wearing your granddad's clothes

Everything was great, until it wasn't.

This banana is disgusting. I hate bananas. Why did I buy one?? Now I have to go out into this sleeting mess and throw it out just so the horrid smell doesn't stink up my nice hotel room.

I'd just been taking out my paints when she asked me. I thought we'd play with watercolors after lunch. I was going to show her how neat it is when you let the colors drip off the brush and swirl around. I felt happy. I can paint with her, yay!

Oh god my face looks horrible from all that crying. 

I'm freewriting everything in my brain right now. Pouring it out.

So she said...

I wear your granddad's clothes...

You know what? It doesn't even matter what she said.

Picture that there is something so terrible about you that when the one person who is supposed to love you no matter what learns of it, her face crinkles up in revulsion and disgust. You make me sick.

She didn't verbalize that but it's what I saw. Shock. Revilement. Horror. I didn't raise you to be like this.* (*a failure in love)

I wonder if this is what it feels like to come out. You are tired of hiding. You feel safe. You let your guard down. I'm strong enough now, you think. I don't have to pretend anymore. You take off the cloak and breathe -- oh that wasn't so hard! -- and then suddenly in the mirror of their face you see yourself reflected and it's not pretty.

I'm gonna pop some tags...

Words are exchanged. It's a pretty civil "you're a fuckup" conversation, as far as these things go. The civility allows you to kiss her on the cheek on your way out and thank her for lunch. Your face is a mask of stone to hide the need to crinkle your face into ugly shapes.

Only got twenty dollars in my pocket...

Then you go and pick up the pieces of yourself, like every other fucking time you picked up the pieces of yourself, and march out the door and fucking rebuild yourself.

This is fucking awesome.

THRIFT SHOP (G rated Radio Edit Clean version) - MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS FEAT. WANZ from Garrett Wesley Gibbons on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The stack of pr0n mags I forgot

"I dunno," he shrugged. "She didn't like to kiss."

We slid into a cozy booth and immediately began catching up on our
love lives, just like we'd done for decades previous, only this was
the first time we were doing it in person in 22 years.

I forgot the number but he remembered it.

"Yup, it's been 22 years. Maybe 23?"

I guess he forgot too. There'd been moves and marriages and even a few
years where we didn't talk at all, but each time we picked up where we
left off just as easily.

I slid a birthday card across the table. "I know we should order and I
want to hear more about this girl but first things first. Happy
birthday!" He read it, smiled broadly and got up to hug me. Then he
slid back into his side of the booth.

"So you broke it off?" I prompted.

"Yeah, I felt really bad when she started crying. She told me she was
starting to fall in love. But if you don't feel it, you don't feel it,
what can you do?" He shook his head sadly.

"What do you mean she didn't like to kiss?"

"She just didn't. She said she didn't like wet lips."

"Do you think you could maybe have started to have stronger feelings
if that part meshed better?"

"Who knows," he replied, looking into the distance.

We became friends in high school when I boy whose name I no longer
remember urged this guy, his best friend, to call me and arrange a
date. "I don't LIKE him that way," I'd said then, irritated at the
call from a stranger. He backpedaled. "Okay, I'm not forcing anything,
he just asked me to talk to you."

We chatted after that and then again and again and somehow it turned
into a friendship. Soon he got his license and visited me. I don't
remember how old I was but I think it was before I ever had a serious
boyfriend, maybe 15?

We had one almost-romantic encounter. We spent the evening laughing
and when he turned to leave, he hugged me by the front door and didn't
let go. We stood like that for a moment and then my mom appeared,
shattering the silence with an angry "WHAT IS GOING ON??" question
that didn't require an answer as much as a command to end whatever
unscrupulous activities she suspected were beginning to unfold. 

We both lept away from each other. "I was just leaving," he said, and
I don't remember if he ever came over again after that.

But we still talked. He went away to boot camp and I played him
Whitesnake songs when he called on Sundays, parched for some crass NJ
flair, deprived of music for those backbreaking 8 weeks. Eventually we
both fell into other relationships and the friendship settled into an
almost girlfriend-like place in that boundaries were comfortably
etched into place; no flirtatious undercurrent ever flowed. It was
safe. I could tell him anything.

When I lived with my dad at 19, he called me one afternoon from the
recycling center where he worked. "You wouldn't BELIEVE the stuff
people drop off here," he said. "Piles and piles of porn mags." I
shrieked, having only seen Playboy and Penthouse and harboring a
healthy curiosity for the underground. "WHAT??!?"

"I'll bring you a stack on my way home," he offered, feeding my delight.

I was in the kitchen making myself a snack when he showed up holding a
stack of fetish ass & breast magazines as promised. The covers
featured freakishly-proportioned folks in positions far raunchier than
the gentlemanly Playboy (or higher publishing standards?) would allow.
I laughed and put the stack aside to finish making my snack, we
chatted a bit and he left.

Then I went upstairs with my snack to finish studying. I don't know
how to explain that I FORGOT the magazines were there, but I did. I
was wrapped up in some school assignment. This personality trait may
explain why my friends think I'm so nerdishly naive but I can really
hyperfocus sometimes. So I went upstairs like a targeted missile and
dove back into my studies.

About 3 hours later, there was an urgent knock on my bedroom door. My
stepmom swung it open. I glanced sideways through crazy study hair
(when you're simultaneously piling it on top of your head to get it
out of the way and then ripping it all out in frustration) and only half
looked at her before turning back to the piles of textbooks sprawled
out on my bed, grunting "mmm?"

"YOU LEFT THESE IN THE KITCHEN," she announced, unceremoniously
dropping the stack of tasteless porn on my bed and whirling out. I
instantly slapped my forehead, collapsed onto my books and died
laughing. Stealth fail!! I still wonder what she thinks of that
incident as we've not spoken of it since. But I remain convinced that
she thought the books were a poor ruse for my obvious career path into
prostitution. What could I possibly have said? "They're not mine"???
Sometimes there's just nothing that can be said. You take your
embarrassment pill and you deal. I dialed my buddy and whisper-hooted
into the phone uproariously and he cracked up. Stepmom remained unamused.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Litmus tests for dieting and dating

I'm thinking that it's all about the questions we ask ourselves. An Aristotelian process of inquiry for discovery. And although you should never take a sentence with that many prepositions seriously, we shall continue. Is s/he the one? Do I really want this tub of ice cream? How do you determine what's best for you in life? So many decisions. Ask thyself:

When Dieting
  • Hankering for something? Ask "Could I eat a big plate of steamed fish and broccoli right now?" If not, then you're not hungry, you're having a craving. Don't do it. Eat real food.

When Dating
  • How will you know you've met the one? When you feel like you won the JACKPOT in a mate. When you can say, "I can't BELIEVE how lucky I am," you've hit it. Score!

Friday, March 8, 2013

You don't really have to meditate to learn this striking revelation.

The one time I tried a group meditation exercise, I fell asleep. "Breathe deep" said the leader. "Relax your muscles and let yourself be." I sighed and sunk into the couch, ragdoll-like. I'm very good when it comes to any preparations which mimic slumber as it's my favorite pastime and I practice it whenever possible.

She continued. "Feel your breath deep in your center. Concentrate on it. Feel your muscles let go and release their tension. Continue breathing."

I was so slack I almost started drooling.

"Now imagine you are standing in a room. There are three doors in front of you. Imagine that door number one opens and out comes one of your selves, your public self, the part of you that you show the world. Sit with her, have a conversation. What does she have to say? What do you talk about? Take some time to visit with her."

I tried to imagine visiting the public me. I pictured myself wearing a long flowing skirt and ripped pantyhose. I walked over to me:
Me: hey.

Public me: 'sup? Make it quick, I'm busy.

Me: How are you?

Public me: Are you KIDDING? You never ask me this. (Ain't nobody got time for that!*this is huge on the Internet right now for some reason.)

Me: No, I'm trying to check in. What do you need?

Public me: Seriously??

Me: Yes, seriously.

Public me: I am exhausted! I need to sleep.

Me: That's all you want?

Public me: God yes.

Me: Fine.
And just like that, I was out.

Some time later I woke up hearing, "And NOW, out of door number three comes your private self."

Door number three??? What happened to door number two?
Me: "Pssst! Quick! What came out of door #2?"

Private Me: "Heck if I know!"

Me: "Um, aren't you supposed to have like huge reserves of brain not doing anything? Aren't you at least absorbing something when I sleep? Can't you rewind the tape and figure it out?"

Private Me: "What do you think, I do all the work while public me is sleeping? Of COURSE I am taking a nap too. We're not that separate."

Me (begging): "Please! What could door #2 possibly be?"

Private Me: "I have no idea. I mean, you got your private and public self, what other self could there possibly be?"

Me: "That's why I'm asking! No clue!"

Private Me: "Good luck with that!"
Great. Now my inner selves were arguing. And then I had to share this with the rest of the group, embarrassingly placed on the spot while everyone gawked in hungry anticipation of wisdom. It was not the first time I'd fallen asleep during class but it WAS the first time I fallen asleep before some measure of public speaking. My revelations were simple, at least. Each and every part of me was dying for more sleep!

Monday, March 4, 2013


I sat stroking his hair as he lay on my lap sleeping, watching the sun glint off his long lashes, thinking I could live in this little piece of heaven for a while.

I don't really know how to handle the fact that reopening my profile means an eventual pulling away from this cozy space of togetherness that is so calm and insular. What is it that feels so enriching about our time together? I think it's that it feels like a little oasis. But because he will never love me, I have to risk upending that in order to find an oasis that won't one day go away.

So, I started having a conversation with someone online and they asked "it's hard to believe someone so [insert nice things here] is still single. Are you available?"

Am I available. Hmm. To meet over coffee, yes. To become friends, sure. To fall in love, if we click, eventually (and after I get past my Fuck I Have To Open Up All Over Again phase), I don't know. But oh I want to say yes.

Friday, March 1, 2013

opening doors

Some people call out sick. I called out sad.

(Well, to be fair, I got a stomachache on the WAY to work which is why I bailed, but I was sick probably only because I was sad.) But I spent almost 22 hours the previous two days at work so okay, I needed some down time.
(If you've been following my blog long enough, you'll notice
I look for excuses to use this pic!)
 It started innocuously enough.

I asked him, out of the blue, about the sense of distance.

It was something I thought I would not bring up again so it surprised me that it came out.

He was honest, kind and compassionate and nothing he said was unexpected. But it made me sad.

What do you do with someone who likes you, but will never love you? But who treats you wonderfully anyway?

Do you leave and find someone else? Do you stay?

I don't want to leave, really.

But I will reopen the door to meeting other people.

Like this fine young man here who contacted me
two weeks ago with this scintillating proposition.
She really does. Maybe I should put that in my dating profile.
An endorsement.
It was maybe the nicest kindof-ending conversation ever. But oh so sad.