It’s Fine That I’m Afraid of Clowns

I’m not the kind of person that gets legitimately frightened by normal stuff.  Like, I don’t love spiders, but I can pick them up or shoo them away without losing my mind.  You know?  Or heights, or snakes or what have you.  It’s not like they’re my favorite things, but I can deal with them if I have to.

Plus, it’s way more fun to give dark answers when people ask you what your deepest fear is.  Try it sometime.  Especially during like a dumb icebreaker game or something.  Just look ’em straight in the face and say “the emptiness in my soul” and then count the number of seconds it takes them to recover.

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Side note: Christian Bale’s hair in this GIF = prime

However, there is one common subject of fear that I can’t deal with. I do not do clowns.  NO.  They freak me out.  And I know it’s cliché to be afraid of clowns but my fear gives zero craps.   Every joker in a red nose can get the heck away from me.

I think this is partially because when I was a little kid the clown in our yearly July 4th parade always gave me a dumb string instead of a cool balloon.  I may have also caught a glimpse of Stephen King’s IT or something.  Heck, somebody probably told me the plotline to that movie and that would’ve been enough to send me into hysterics for days.

Anyway, the point is, I don’t like clowns.  And I know there’s like a clown union and everything and they’re pissed at the people who portray clowns as horror movie villains, but it’s too late.  The damage is done.  Sorry, clown union.

But for a lot of years I always felt a little silly about my fear.  After all, it’s not like I’d ever really been personally victimized by a clown (unless you count the parade of course).

But then, one day, it turns out I WAS RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING, and all my fears are totally justified.  This is what happened.

 

My senior year of college my undergraduate research got accepted for presentation at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research (NCUR), which felt like a really big deal until I got to the conference and realized literally a million and half people were there presenting and also all some kids did was write a paper and that was it. (P.S. Run-on sentences for the win.)  Anyway, it was an excuse for like 20 of us to bus out to a different state for several days and feel like we were smarter than we actually were.

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There was also a cosplay event of some kind being held at our hotel, and so people in costumes were coming and going and some of us were curious.  I mean, I’m not a cosplayer but I like costumes and sci-fi characters and I thought it would be cool to check out the event from a distance before we left the hotel to go home.  (SIDE NOTE: The rest of this story is not a slam to cosplayers.  Just so we’re clear.)

Anyway, this turned out to be a terrible idea.  Several of us were exploring the table displays and talking to people dressed up like elves and video game characters when suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, there appeared a clown.

And not just any clown. This guy had done his makeup to look horrifying.  I’m talking exposed brains, fake dried blood running down his face, blacked out teeth, the works.  Which, you know, if that’s your deal, then that’s whatever.  But then the dude had to go and make it our problem.  Apparently this guy was in it for the screech bait.

One of my friends, (unfortunately), made eye contact with Circus Chainsaw Massacre Part 2, and that was enough for him.  He started coming towards us and my friends came UNGLUED.  Which was exactly the wrong thing to do.  He started laughing this terrible, freaky laugh (obviously enjoying her terror), and wouldn’t go away.  He got close enough that I thought he actually might reach out and grab her.

There have only been a few instances in my life where I’ve thought I might have to fight someone.  This was one of them.

We started walking away, but couldn’t control our fear enough to shed Freddy Kreuger Clown Edition.  It was like some weird sci-fi horror film where the villain gains strength from the fear of others.  (Okay, or he was just an absolute creep.)  He kept following us to the edge of the gallery, still making that weird laughing sound.

Fortunately, one of the guys in our group had come looking for us, and as soon as there was another dude on the scene, Nightmare on Elm Street was out of there.

We were all definitely traumatized.  I managed to not freak out in the moment, but come on – it’s not every day you get terrorized by a demon clown in very close proximity.

Which just goes to show.  I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG.  And now I have a very legitimate reason to fear clowns.

So there.

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Grad Assistant’s Nightmare

So, I spent a couple years working as a graduate assistant while I was getting my master’s degree.  (Actually, I’m still getting my master’s.  But referring to it in the past tense gives me some hope that I’ll complete it someday.)

Anyway, as anybody who’s done it will tell you, being a GA has its ups and downs.  Usually you just spend a lot of time responding to emails with “READ THE DAMN SYLLABUS” and then deleting that line and typing something way nicer but still passive aggressively wishing you’d sent the first email.  You’d be amazed by the number of college students who have (somehow) never learned to read directions or utilize the resources available to them.

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I taught music theory for non-majors at 7:30am for two years (yes, pity me.) I was responsible for creating my own lesson plans, homework assignments, in class worksheets, tests, and exams.  Everything.  Which was actually really nice because I could teach in a way that made sense to me.  It also meant there was a giant learning curve for me in terms of learning how to teach well.

By my second year of teaching, I was pretty sure I had it figured out. I’d seen all the curveballs before, and I was READY.  My attendance records were impeccable, my paper trail on struggling students was pristine, and I’d even gone out of my way to try to make class interesting and fun.  Did I sleep very much? No.  But that’s beside the point. (Side note: working part time and going to school full time is the best.)

But, such things can’t last, and just as I was about to say goodbye to another semester of students (90% of whom would promptly forget everything they had learned) I made a mistake.  A terrible, terrible mistake.

You see, I had created the final exam a few days early, and sent it to my supervising professor for him to check.  I was actually pretty proud of it – writing tests that are fair but not laughably easy is actually way more difficult than I thought it would be.

My supervising professor okay’d my final and it got sent to the office for copies. I picked them up, and that was that.  Let finals week come – I would be ready with my stack of exams and a red pen.

So you can imagine my surprise when, as I passed out my beautiful exams, everyone stared at me strangely.  After an awkward silence, my best student sort of cleared his throat quietly and said, “Um…you know this is the midterm…right?”

NO. NO I DID NOT KNOW.

My heart stopped. It had never occurred to me to check under the classroom label to make sure the stack of papers I was handed was the right one.  Yet, here I was, at 8am, without my final exam, and with a bunch of college students staring vacantly at me.  Looking back, they were probably all wondering if they were about to get 100%s on their final exam because I clearly couldn’t get my life together.

ran to the School of Music office, praying the administrative assistant would be there.  After some confusion, and near hysterics by me, she managed to print me an older draft of my exam.

By this time, I’d taken up 20 minutes of the exam period.  In order to be fair, I had to let my slower test takers have their full two hours.  Which meant we had to relocate to the library after our official exam time was up AND I was late for everything.

On the list of “moments of sheer blind panic” in my life so far, this one is pretty near the top.

The moral of this story is: Always check the stack.  Never trust the label.  Always check the stack.

Always, always, always.

ALWAYS.

(**Side note: You ever notice that if you write a word enough times it starts to looks super trippy and then you start second guessing whether you spelled it right? Like, “always” is such a strange word.  Who decided it should look like that?  Weird.)

In Which I Am Not A Chef

So, I had to make pudding one time for a thing at work when I was an intern.

Which, you might think is sort of strange.  Literally no one brings pudding to anything.  I mean, don’t get me wrong – I like pudding but…it’s just not something that you eat a social gatherings.  Right?

Pudding is weird and smooshy and you have to be a certain kind of person to want to eat it.

Be that as it may, it was tradition (apparently) for the old intern to make pudding for the new intern.

From scratch.

Because that’s a normal thing people do to welcome other people.  “So glad you’ll be working with us! Here’s some….pudding….yes.”

I mean, this is just me, but wouldn’t cookies or cupcakes be slightly less, I don’t know, strange?

But.  I was determined to do this tradition justice.  Especially since the intern that welcomed me had made perfect salted caramel pudding.

I would make pudding if it killed me.  And, knowing me, it probably would.

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^^actual footage of me trying to make food

So.  I found a recipe that had cute little pictures of pudding bowls and happiness on it and went to pick up all the ingredients.   And let me tell you, there are so many egg yolks in pudding.  SO MANY.  I had no idea.

Everything was going swimmingly until I actually read the recipe.  There were like seven different layers of ingredients that all had to be made separately and then added together, first of all.  Nobody has enough mixing bowls to make pudding.  It requires an entire cabinet of mixing bowls.

And then, every line said something like “boil the thing and then gradually stir in the other thing until it smells right and then add that other thing but just enough otherwise everything will explode and life will be terrible.”

Listen, website recipe lady.  I’m not a magic miracle pudding ingredient stirrer, okay? I have no idea what “the right amount” of anything is, much less any idea of how fast to stir stuff into other stuff.

However, I pushed on.  By that I mean, I gave everything my best guess and tried not to think about the likely results.  I stirred the stuff into the stuff and heated it all on the stove and tried to make caramel out of water and brown sugar and it was crazy.

So then after you heat everything and stir it and dump it all together, you’re supposed to chill it in the fridge for like a day.  And I thought finally, a thing I can actually do.

But, when I removed it from the fridge the next day, it looked like this:

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Obvi, I snapchatted my failure to everyone because why not

The pudding had not solidified at all.  And I know you’re wondering what those brownish lumps are.  They are cookie crumbs, I’ll have you know.  And they were supposed to be a delicious crust on the bottom of the cups, not floating all around like that.

Anyway, obviously operation pudding was a complete failure.  I didn’t even try any of it, I was too afraid of my own creation.  All of it was summarily dumped down the sink (so many wasted egg yolks…).

I made chocolate chip cookies instead, late that night.  Come to find out, the “tradition” was fairly new, and none of my coworkers were that attached to the whole pudding idea.

I could have spared myself the emotional rollercoaster.

But, hindsight is 20/20.  And hey, at least now I know. Pudding isn’t my thing.  Pudding will never be my thing.

And that’s okay, because pudding is sort of strange anyway.

How a Kite Ruined My Childhood

They say most phobias and irrational fears are formed as a result of a traumatic childhood event.  Someday I’ll be in therapy, telling this story.

When I was around four years old my whole extended family went on vacation together in Sanibel, Florida.    We spent days running around on the beach finding seashells and sand dollars and chasing seagulls.  It was magical, as only a week by the ocean can be (when you’re a kid and don’t realize that everything in the ocean can kill you.)

Then one day in the middle of the week my parents bought kites for us kids.  By which I mean just for me and my big brother.  My little brother was two, and was mostly just excited that my parents weren’t making him wear pants.

I was thrilled.  We’d flown kites before at home, but I’d never had one of my own – especially not one with a high-tech hot pink string spool.  I knew that I would be a pro at kite-flying.  Way better than my brother.

It was a perfect day for kite flying, and mine leapt out of my dad’s hands to meet the sun in a beautiful sky dance.  I kept paying out the line, willing it to climb higher.

But then, all of my four-year-old dreams came crashing to the ground.  Or rather, blew away.

Because it turns out the end of my kite string had never been secured to my state-of-the-art hot pink spool.  And so while I gave my beautiful kite more and more line, eventually it got to the end and then – slipped through my fingers.

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And that wasn’t even the worst part.  It was a windy day and we’d been flying them over the ocean and so I was doomed to watch my precious kite drift further and further away.  Minutes ticked by and I could still see it – the symbol of my failure growing gradually smaller in the distance.

My brother offered to let me fly his.  My parents even bought me a new kite.  But it was too late.  I knew that anything airborne that I touched would inevitably abandon me and float across the sea to some other, more deserving little girl.

For years afterwards I collapsed into a pile of tears if anyone tried to get me anywhere near a kite.  This also extended to helium balloons – a distant cousin of the kite.  They were traitors too, as far as I was concerned.

It would be the perfect dramatic ending to say that I never, ever flew a kite again.  But that’s not true.  Over time my subconscious repressed enough of the terror so that I was able to tentatively take up kite-flying again.

But.

I’ve never forgotten the day my kite flew away.

 

 

And I’ve never let my parents forget it either.

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Australia or Bust

This is a story about the day we mailed my best friend’s little sister to Australia.  The following account is mostly true except for the parts that are a little fuzzy in my memory so I fabricated them slightly to keep the story from falling apart.

You remember iMacs?  I mean, I know we still have them, but I’m talking about the old ones.  You know, the colored ones with the convenient handles on top.

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Believe it or not, these were once the height of technological achievement.  Ours was green, and more importantly it came in a fantastic cardboard box.

Being the a) weird and b) imaginative children that we were, my brothers and I immediately discovered that you could fit any one of us in that box and close the lid easily.  Our new favorite game involved shoving someone into the box, closing them in, and rolling it around on the basement floor until he (or she) could no longer see straight.  It was sort of a contest to see who could endure it the longest without brain damage.  (My parents had no idea we did this until about a year ago).

Anyway, one afternoon my best friend and her little sister came over to play with my brothers and I.  My little brother and I and the two of them were inseparable. This day was special though, because my older brother condescended to associate with the unenlightened and played with us as well.

We rolled each other around in the box until everyone was dizzy, and since my friend’s sister was the youngest, she had to go last.  (Duh.  Everything is about age hierarchy when you’re a kid.)

We were terrible children, and rolled the box onto the lid so that she was trapped.  And then we hatched a plan.  Looking back on this story, the rest of us usually blame my big brother for what happened next.  He was the oldest, he should have known better.  But really it was all of our faults.

After rolling her enough to disorient her, we let her out of the box but blindfolded her immediately.  We then proceeded to make her walk around our basement and up a fake flight of stairs that we had created out of pillows.  While this was happening we helpfully said things like “yeah, let’s go upstairs” and “hey why don’t we take her outside” and “why don’t you pick her up and carry her for a sec”.

We also said things like “ooo put her in the box” and “hey, let’s mail her to Australia!” and “yeah write ‘Australia’ on the box with some stamps” and “Hey, look! Here comes the mailman!”

At this point, either she started crying, or she freaked out enough to take off the blindfold.  Either way, “here comes the mailman” was the breaking point.  There are few things that strike fear into the heart like the possibility of the immediate presence of a U.S. Postal worker.

We were still in the basement, but she was convinced she was seconds away from a trip to Australia.

Oops.

And that’s how we scarred my best friend’s little sister for life.  It still comes up, pretty much anytime we’re all together.  “Remember that day you pretended to mail me to Australia?”

“Yup.”

“You guys suck.”

Which just goes to show, you should never trust your siblings, or your friends.  They might try to mail to you to another continent, just for kicks.

A Story In Which I Amazingly Do Not Die

When I was in grad school, I lived about an hour and a half away from my hometown, which meant that I could go back for important things like birthdays and weddings and holidays and such.  I loved getting to still be part of my home life from time to time, and the drive never bothered me much – it was a straight shot down the highway, easiest drive in the world.

 

Amazingly, the drive didn’t usually bother my cat, either.  He would whine for a bit, and then give up and go to sleep until I got to my parents’ house.

 

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This is Paco. Any excuse to include pictures of him is a good one.

 

But all that changed one fateful day.  To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure why I was driving home this particular weekend, (to clarify – “home” meaning my parents’ house, not “home” meaning my apartment, I used the word to mean both things most of the time.)  It was probably midterm break or Easter or something.  I don’t know. It’s not important.

 

Anyway, I was driving back on a Friday night, with a full tank of gas and definitely expecting to be home before food would be happening.  Let’s be honest, I’m pretty much always up for food options that don’t involve me making it for myself.  (Side note: food is hard.)

 

So I’m driving down the highway, eating an apple, talking to my cat, super normal, when I decide to try to pass the semi that’s in front of me.  As I edge around the semi, I start to smell burning rubber.  Pretty soon after, the right front side of my car dips dangerously, accompanied by a terrifying thumping sound.  I remember throwing my half eaten apple across my car, busting in front of the semi (how he managed not to hit me I’ll never know) and after that I just remember being parked on the shoulder trying not to freak out.

My right front tire was shredded, like the kind of shredded where if I hadn’t stopped when I did, it probably would have come off the wheel entirely.  Like the kind of shredded where you drive by the pieces of tire blowing around on the highway and you thank God that your tires will never do that. That kind of shredded.

By some miracle, I didn’t completely go off the rails, despite being trapped on the highway shoulder during rush hour with a cat.  I called AAA, they promised to send someone to fix it, I unearthed my spare (which looked suspiciously low) and sat in my car to wait.

…and wait.

 

Until finally, a very nice state trooper found me and made sure I was okay.  He put some flares behind me so that people would give me room.

 

An hour and a half later, a very nice AAA man drove up, changed my tire for me, and blocked traffic so that I could drive off with my spare.  However, it’s a spare.  And apparently, you can’t drive over 50mph on those things or they die.  So I’m going 50 in 70mph zone with my flashers on, praying that no one hits me or yells anything rude.  My cat, mercifully, is silent.

So then about 10 minutes later, I hear a sort of whooshing sad sighing sound, and my car is (yet again) tipping dangerously to the right.  And then there’s a lot of thudding and slapping, and yes my spare tire is quite obviously flat.  Keep in mind it’s still rush hour.

I’m 200 yards from a rest stop, but there’s no way I can limp all the way there in the traffic, so I’m stranded on the shoulder yet again.  Still with a cat.  This time, I can’t call someone to come change my tire because I don’t have a spare.  So.  I call my dad.  Dads are great.  My dad is great, and he jumped in the car to pick me up.  But he was an hour away.

So Paco and I sat in my car for at least an hour.  My phone was dying, it was getting dark and cold and scary and WAY past dinnertime and I had to pee.  The thing that sucks about being stranded places when you’re a girl is you can’t just go pee on stuff if you have to pee.  You have to hold it.  Also, it’s not like I can just leave my cat in the car on the shoulder while I find a bush to pee behind in the dark.

Then, THE SAME STATE TROOPER found me again (so embarrassing) and very kindly gave me some more flares.  Paco and I sat.  And sat.  Until rush hour was over.  I limped into the rest stop.  Where there was nobody.  Except me (trying desperately not to pee myself) and some truck drivers.

And then FINALLY my dad came.  He graciously sat with my cat while I (thank heavens) ran to the rest stop to pee.  And he brought me food, because he’s a parent.  We took the wheel off my car, left it at the rest stop, put all my stuff and my cat in my dad’s car and drove home.  I got home like five hours after I was supposed to and my poor cat was a nervous wreck.

The next day we took the wheel in to get a new tire, drove BACK to the rest stop to put it on and I drove my car BACK to my parents house.

Also, it turns out they don’t make spares for my car any more.  We had to buy a whole other wheel.

 

But hey.  At least I’m not dead.

 

 

Trapped

Lots of things freak me out.  Like clowns, and small spaces, and bookshelves that aren’t alphabetized.

And being lost.

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Except I’m not cute when I’m lost.  I’m swearing and shaking and jumping at shadows and it’s terrible.  Once my brain decides I’m lost, I pretty much believe I’ll spend the rest of my life as a hobo and never see or speak to anyone I love ever ever again.

And the fun thing about me is that even if I know where I am geographically, I’ll still flip into “lost” mode if I run into an unfamiliar situation.

 

Cue: our story.

 

Once upon a time, I went to visit some of my old high school friends on their college campus.  Since we didn’t go to the same university, I was fairly unfamiliar with the campus layout, (translation: lost mode kicks in immediately).  As anyone will tell you, trying to find parking on a campus located in the middle of a city is a nightmare.  Finding my friends’ apartment wasn’t enough – I had to find somewhere to park too.  By the time I’d located a parking garage, my nerves were shot.  (Side note: at this point in my life, I was also not a pro a using parking garages.)

Anyway, I made it, found my friends, hung out, blah blah blah happiness and friendship.  And then it was time for me to go back to where I belonged.  Since it was dark and late and a college campus, my friends (lovely people that they are) walked me to my car.  I offered to drive them back to their apartment, and here’s where things get fun.

We all piled in to my Volvo (affectionately named Volvo Baggins), and I realized that my car was the only car left in the garage.  I hate being the only car left in parking garages.  It’s creepy and weird and everything starts to feel like the beginning of a horror movie.  So I was already a little nervous because you never know when some crazy chainsaw wielding monster is going to crash onto the scene.

I pulled up to the pay station for the garage, and put my car in park so I could reach up and feed my ticket into the machine and pay (I have T-rex arms, unfortunately).  Keep in mind though, that I was already nervous and uncertain: a) because horror movies and darkness and b) because parking garages and c) because residual lost mode.  As a result, I accidentally shifted my car from park into reverse, not drive.  When the gate opened to let me out, I promptly reversed my car backwards five feet – much to my surprise and horror.  In the time it took me to shift into drive and make up the lost ground, the gate had closed again.  (Remember how earlier I said I wasn’t a parking garage pro?)

We were trapped.  I had already fed the ticket machine my ticket, I had paid, but I wasn’t out.  And all my friends were in my back seat.  Enter full blown lost mode.  At this point my memory is a little hazy, but I think I frantically drove around in circles in the garage trying to find a secret way out.  I think I even briefly considered just trying to smash through the garage gate (obviously not a great plan).

Finally, I pulled up to the gate again and found a call button.  I don’t know who it called or why they were awake, but I had to explain to them that I had managed to get myself and several friends trapped in a parking garage.  Fortunately they believed me, and by some magic opened the gate.

I have them to thank for the fact that I’m not still living in my Volvo in a parking garage, trapped until the end of time.

 

On Traveling

I like going new places, in theory.  Traveling is exciting – you get to meet new people, see new places, eat different food.  In theory, traveling is awesome.

 

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Except that real life isn’t Disney, and even though I really DO like going new places, somehow, something always backfires.

For instance, this spring I went on vacation to Costa Rica with my aunt and uncle.  It was amazing, although most of the trip is a story for another time (there are so many monkeys there.  So many.)  But this story isn’t about the monkeys.

Since I decided to come last minute, I had to fly separately into San Jose and meet them at the baggage claim.  No big deal.  I am an adult and perfectly capable of flying internationally alone.

Airports make me really insecure though.  I immediately start sweating as soon as I get my boarding pass.  “Did I remember my passport?” “What if I lose my boarding pass?” “What if I accidentally brought scissors?”  “What if I accidentally brought peanut butter?” “What if I have to pee while I’m waiting to go through security?” And on, and on and on.

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The addition of having to go through customs also serves to further unnerve me.  “What if I have a communicable disease and I don’t know it and they put me in quarantine?” “What if I accidentally have drugs in my checked bag?  I’ve never touched drugs in my life but what if they’re magically somehow there and then I go to jail forever?”  Obviously, the more I worry, the more my ability to think reasonably diminishes.  I’m pretty sure it’s some sort of inverse exponential relationship. (Or negative exponential.  I don’t really know, I forget math now.)

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This is trigonometry but who cares

Anyway, happily, on this trip, despite all my anxious catastrophizing I made it safely through all my security checks, caught my connecting flight without hassle and plunked myself down between my two row neighbors for the flight to San Jose.  Fortunately neither of them wanted to talk, and we filled out our customs forms in silence.

Which brought on a whole other round of worry scenarios.  “All of these questions are in Spanish” “What if I write the wrong answer?” “What if I accidentally brought fruit with me?” “Oh no I forgot the name of the place where we’re staying” “WHY DID EVERYONE TRUST ME TO GET MYSELF TO A DIFFERENT COUNTRY ALONE???”

But then the captain turned on the loudspeaker.  And I realized that there was one thing I’d completely neglected to freak out about.  Two things, actually.  The first thing was “Good afternoon everyone, it looks like we’re about to hit some turbulence as we start the landing process, please fasten your seatbelts.”

 

Lol. I love turbulence.

 

The second thing was that, as we began bouncing around and seesawing from side to side and generally jolting, I began to feel quite ill.  Very, very ill.  There are few things worse than realizing that you are going to puke for the first time in 12 years on airplane while touching shoulders with two complete strangers.  Especially when you don’t even know where they keep the barf bags.  (They’re in the seat pocket, but you might have to dig a bit).

After spending a few horror-stricken seconds thinking I might have to barf into the seat back itself and just pretend nothing happened, I found the bag and hurled into it.  I’d only eaten Twizzlers in the past few hours so what came up was, um, red.

Nothing in the safety packet tells you what to do with a bag of barf on an airplane.  So after we landed I left it sealed on my seat.  Sorry, flight attendants.

As we walked to customs, one of my row neighbors turned to me and said “Hey…um, would you like a mint?”

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And that’s how I got to Costa Rica.

Kids Can’t Handle My Leg Stubble

Whoever decided that women should shave their legs is the legitimate worst.

 

I mean, seriously.  God gave us leg hair, why can’t we keep it?  It takes a solid extra five minutes in the shower to deal with that crap.  That’s five minutes I could be sleeping or eating or something way better.  And if you’re me (translation: clumsy), every time you touch a razor you risk absentmindedly gashing yourself.

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^^whoever made this meme is my spirit animal

Which is why my legs generally have about three days of stubble on them at any given time.  And let’s be honest, three days is actually not that bad.  Like, I know plenty of people that go weeks, okay?

 

But you know who doesn’t appreciate my dedication to sort of keeping my leg hair under control?

 

CHILDREN.   Kids give zero craps about the hell that is shaving.  If your legs are prickly, they will for darn sure tell everyone within a ten mile radius.

 

I know this because I worked at a daycare for kids 0-5 years old and made the mistake of wearing shorts to work and letting kids sit in my lap.  “Hey, why are your legs so scratchy?” is a really fun question to answer during storytime in front of all your coworkers.

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I know you can’t tell kids to shut up but…I mean COME ON

I once was monitoring kids at recess and looked down to find one of my pre-K kids absentmindedly petting my legs.  “What? It’s pokey!”

Even the littlest kids, the ones that can’t say actual words didn’t give me a break.  I was holding one of my littles on my lap, he legit knew like three words at the time so I thought I’d be safe, BUT NO.

I kid you not, he touched my leg, frowned, touched it again and said “uh oh”.  He then continued to rub my stubble and loudly proclaim “UH OH” to everyone else in the classroom.

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My coworkers died laughing, and thus it was proven that children of any age can and will mercilessly attack when you’re at your most vulnerable.

 

I shaved much more frequently after that.  Which, I’m happy to say, had the desired effect.  It has now been some time since my legs have been unceremoniously thrust into the spotlight.

 

And luckily, winter is coming.  Which will release all of female-dom from the chains of shaving for a few short, frigid months.

 

Or maybe we’ll just embrace our stubble.  You can yell about it all you want, kids.

The Battle of the Lamp

 

The summer before my junior year of college my parents had a giant garage sale and a bunch of people brought over stuff for us to sell.  One of the things that didn’t end up selling was a lamp that was shaped like a calla lily.  It looked kind of like this except uglier and more plastic and only one lily:

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**I’m waiting for my old roommate to send me a picture of the real one.  We’ll use this fake picture until then.

Anyway, we didn’t know what to do with it because it didn’t work particularly well and was kind of ugly.  And then I got an idea.

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My college roommate is kind of particular about decor, so when we first moved in I let her make everything in our dorm room match and coordinate and look nice.  I’m not particular at all.  I could live my whole life without matching silverware and never be bothered.

We had had matching lamps (from Target) for the first two years of school.

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I knew it would kill her if I suddenly had a new, completely ugly lamp that didn’t match any of our other furniture.  BUT, she would be too nice to say anything about it. (Sometimes I actually do have awful taste and she has always kindly refrained from pointing it out.)

 

When we moved in, I nonchalantly put the lily lamp on my desk where my old lamp should have been.  I then spent the next two weeks gushing about how much I loved my new lamp.

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I even got several of our friends in on the joke, and had them stop by to gush about how adorable my new lamp was.

I could see my roommate starting to twitch.  But she didn’t say anything because she didn’t want to hurt my feelings.  (I actually found out later that the whole process legitimately stressed her out.  Oops.)

I finally told her it was a joke, but then I just started leaving the lamp on her side of the room.  Usually with a post it note that said “love me!”  It would inevitably end up back on my bed with a note saying something like “I want to smash this”.  Sometimes the lamp would go to visit our hallmates to bring messages (“lamp-o-grams”), but it always came back to stay with us.

Finally, I decided to let it go for a while, so she would think it was gone forever.

 

Then I wrapped it up and gave it to her as a Christmas present.  She gave it back.

 

Then I disguised it (like with a mustache and sunglasses and everything) and gave it to her for her birthday. She gave it back.

 

We kept giving it back and forth for a few years.  Then, when I moved away from where we grew up she sneakily left it in my apartment before going home.

(…”and some things that should not have been forgotten were lost.  History became legend.  Legend became myth.  And for two and a half thousand years, the ring [lamp] passed out of all knowledge…”)

 

Okay.  So maybe it wasn’t two and a half thousand years.  But it was definitely a year. I kept it in my closet for a year and said nothing at all about it.

 

And then, the perfect opportunity presented itself.  My roommate got married.

 

I disguised the lamp as a really well-wrapped wedding gift.  I also bought her & her husband each a hammer, and left a note inside explaining that my gift was my permission to finally destroy the lamp.  You know, they could smash it together.  Super romantic, if you ask me.

 

Turns out she actually was too attached to the joke to smash it though.  To my knowledge the lamp is still in their basement.  I’m sure it will come back to haunt me someday.

 

***UPDATE: August 2016 – I got her sister to steal the lamp out of her basement. Then I took it with us on vacation and hid it in her bed with a note that said “Miss me?”  VICTORY IS MINE.