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Hell hath no fury like muscles scorned for months and then dragged to the gym for two hours. It's only a few hours later and already de pain! de pain! is beginning. Neeta, Maggy and I went to the UCLA gym while the undergrads are still on spring break. It was Neeta's first time in a gym EVER and madness ensued. First, Neeta is a wisp of a girl, an Indian Natascha McElhone — contrast and compare:
Second, she is a bit of a scatterbrain. Leaves her purse under a chair and her shoes occasionally untied. Which makes her one of the most endearing people I know -- especially when her flightiness belies a core strength. In any case, figuring out the StairMaster and the ellipticals together was hilarious, the more so because of all people that should be guiding a girl around a gym, I am the least qualified. Maggy is a much better candidate, since she is the one who explained all the contraptions in the weight room to me last semester, the firstANDlast (see A Whole New Light) time I went to the gym.
I'm sure the 250-lb-benching dudes in the weight room found it all too too funny - Maggy, Neeta and I all lined up in front of the mirror, lifting our 3 and 5-lb weights in poor form, worried about whether our sweaty armpits showed and comforting one another with, "It just looks like a shadow."
Not only am I a bug killing machine, but I just may be THE BEST HIGHWAY DRIVER OF ALL TIME. Seriously. I have always wanted to be a world expert in something (see my 100 things to do before I die), and I think I've found my calling. Again, seriously. Check my mad highway driving skills:
1. I can drive from Los Angeles to Redding (550 miles and 7.5-8.0 hours depending on traffic and whether I think my speeding ticket karma is good that day) and make only 2 stops, despite having consumed OVER 60 OUNCES OF LIQUID (usually one 20-oz. Coke, two waters) during the trip. Boo-yah (sp?)!
2. I combine all my stops into one -- gassing up, powdering my nose, purchasing food-like items (I say food-like because I only purchase sustenance at mini-marts because I AM THE ONE-STOP-SHOP MASTER OF THE ROAD!!!), etc.
3. I stay in the right lane at all times unless passing, in which case I make a brief foray into the left and quickly return.
4. I only flip people off covertly so as to not incite any road rage, which might delay my trip.
5. I can MAINTAIN CONSTANT SPEED like, I don't know, it's like... a work of art really. I do not deviate. I do not falter. I maintain constant speed.
6. I never leave my blinker on (seems simple, I know, but try retaining your highway cred with your left blinker on for 22 miles).
7. I use my blinkers.
8. If I am in a long line of cars in the left lane waiting to pass a truck, I let speedsters in who come right up to the back of the truck and try to then get into the left lane -- unless they wouldn't let me in when I attempted the same move previously. Then all bets are off and there is much covert flipping off that goes on.
9. I provide ample space between me and the car in front of me.
10. I don't get bored. Like, EVER. I stare into the cars of my fellow highway drivers, wonder where they're going, make major life decisions, recant, reevaluate, reengineer. I listen to mix CDs, memorize the names of all the major trucking companies (Gordon Limited Trucking (GLT), Swift, England, Schneider, U.S. X-Press, Roadway - that's right, I am naming them all off the top of my head, beat that game, biatch!), and constantly recalculate my estimated time of arrival.
So. I know I am totally crazy for taking such pride in my highway driving skills, but a girl's gotta have something to call her own, right?
I AM A BUG KILLING MACHINE
Just 120 of the MILLIONS of bugs that met their death on my car as I headed up the 5 this weekend.
Draggin' the Line
The above is a reference to a song prominently featured in Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead, which contains the apex of montage scenes (that's when you need to put yourself to the test, and show the passage of time, we're gonna need a montage) where Christina Applegate and her misfit siblings get the house ready for THE FASHION SHOW!! The song is actually a Beat Goes Bang cover of a Tommy James and the Shondells (better known for Crimson and Clover) song, but in any case, that's not the point.
The point is: what line governs blogging? What's an overshare? What's not kosher to talk about? Am I draggin' the line? Moreover, what do I have to avoid talking about to prevent getting fired (assuming I am EVER EMPLOYED AGAIN)? More research required.
More of the line: last night I tried to get into Concorde in celebration of my friend Porcia's birthday. We waited in line with 100 other suckers, watching M. Night Shyamalan, Mischa Barton and the back of Lindsay Lohan's head (we think) enter the club before the boys realized it was a lost cause. After Mischa entered, there was talk of buying a table at $60/pop, but sanity intervened, and eventually we ended up at Forty Deuce, where I'd never been.
It was fun, actually. A burlesque show is nothing if not a sociological expirement to behold. And the Forty Deuce in LA encourages a continuation of the professional show by enticing girls from the crowd onstage. I'm a little past that point, but I enjoyed watching what the others had to offer in terms of bumpin' and grindin'. AND, for the first time ever, and I hope the last, I intervened in an almost-brawl with one of my male law school buddies and an overanxious spectator whose view he was inadvertently blocking. By intervened I mean there's nothing like a 5'2" 100-lb girl stepping in to make everyone look foolish. Yay for me!
Always Be Prepared
So at first when I was going to write this entry, I was getting prepared, in good Girl Scout or Boy Scout stylie, to list all the replies I'd have readied for when someone asked me at my brother's wedding why I, three years older, wasn't married yet. Namely:
1) Because men are all in a state of extended adolescence, and I'm sorry, I would watch The O.C. if I wanted that drama, and, I'm sorry again, I don't watch that show FOR A REASON.
2) Because I have a higher earning potential than anyone I've met, and men shrivel at the sight of anyone that can outdo them in the boardroom, in bed, or in life.
3) Because (perhaps related to point 2) I haven't met a man "gifted" *wink, wink* enough to satisfy me (this response mainly directed at 80-year-olds to shock them, not out of any real truthful desire because really, who needs a Colin Farrell?).
And then I realized: wouldn't it be funnier (to me) if I just sighed and said, "Oh, because I haven't met the man of my dreams yet," while secretly giving them the bird (you know, communicating. keeping up foreign relations. you know, giving them the bird. thank you lieutenant.) in my mind but yet looking longingly off into the distance like I could almost envision him there, tall, dark and handsome with like a HUGE, um, 401(k).
So. Anyway. I think Plan B is better. Less offensive to the octegenarian set. And better in keeping with the theme of Jeffy's wedding, which I assume will be Klassy. Although we all know what assuming does. In any case, my list is just a big ole pile of defensive posturing because:
1) Men are all in a state of extended adolescence, but I'm sure there's one out there who keeps his XBOX playing to when the girl is already in bed and can man up and say he's afraid of being old but still wants to, I don't know, have a REAL RELATIONSHIP one day.
2) If someone can cook because God knows I'm not gonna, I don't give a shit what they make.
3) Again, who needs a Colin Farrell?
So that's how that goes. Thank goodness no one reads this but friends and strangers!
Family PLUS One!
My brother asked his longtime girlfried Jen to marry him this weekend. Besides the fact that she already looks like a member of our family, there are a million reasons I'm so happy he asked her -- Jen rocks! She calls my dad D.K. (for Doctor Ken) when I didn't even know it was possible to give anyone in my family a nickname, let alone my dad. She makes a mean fritatta, can sass my brother with the best of them and also prefers to wear pajama bottoms whenever possible. Plus, she likes her beer and loves my brother. What more can you ask for?
We Are Family
Things are much better. My dad has perked up and hopes to leave the hospital either tomorrow or Monday. In celebration, I'm posting an ode to my family.
My dad didn't do so well today. The nice people at UCSF gave him two medicines that shouldn't be combined and his breathing and pulse slowed and his blood pressure dropped and they had to call in the Code team to figure it all out. I had called my mother halfway through the day just to check in, thinking everything would be progressing nicely. When she called me back, I asked her how she was, and she just managed to choke out a "pretty good" before bursting into tears.
It's not very often that you experience blind, penetrating fear that makes you nearly pass out in your seat. But this is what happens when your mother tells you they had to call the Code team in and that your dad is experiencing heavy back pain and they need to do a CT scan to identify the cause of it and that your mom is afraid he's had an insult to brain but that they won't know anything because they can't do a CT until he stabilizes.
So here I am, writing my memo, which counts as 45% of my year-long grade for Lawyering Skills, not really giving a shit whether a woman with a PhD in Women's Studies can ever be qualified to testify on a psychological theory on age stereotypes. I don't know - as long as she doesn't mistakenly mix two stereotypes together and send age discrimination theory back into the ICU, I don't give a fuck what she testifies about.
You Made It, Sweetie
Monday was more waiting. In the main surgical waiting room for an hour and a half before my dad went into surgery and my sister and I joined my mother in the Intensive Cardiac Care unit waiting room. Then another unanticipated and nerve-wracking seven-and-a-half hours more before we got the news that he was out of surgery and in the ICC. Actually, we didn't get the news so much as my mother walked out of the room to throw something away and saw my father being rolled off the elevator on a gurney, swollen and with tubes coming out of him every which way. She returned to the waiting room, white as a sheet, to tell us he was out, and the same reflexively smiling nurse that told us absolutely no helpful news three hours and then again one hour previous came in a moment later to confirm. I went in to the ICC first with my mother to see him and let me tell you, I hope my children never are sick and need me to be strong for them in the hospital because it will be the hardest thing I'll ever do. All I could do is stand far back from the bed, not wanting any lingering stuffy nose germs to make it over to my dad, and sob and watch my mother stroke his yellow, swollen head and tell him, "you made it, sweetie; we're here; you made it."
It's funny to watch your mother tell your father this and realize what two people who have been married for almost 35 years mean to one another. I had to leave to get back to LA and write a final paper, but when my dad woke up a few hours later, my sister Penny and mother were there, and Penny told me that in his drug-addled fog, still on the ventilator and unable to speak, my dad was signing, "I love you," and all he wanted was for my mother to give him a kiss. I can't imagine a better physical act to prove that you're alive and you've made it, sweetie, we're here, you made it.
Burnt by Love
This weekend my friend Brie came here on work bidness from NY, and I'm still feeling the effects. We had a Thur-Fri-Sat smorgasbord of fun.
Waking up at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday was the first sign I had too much fun. Or no, that was the ginormous bruises on my inner thigh and knee. Both incurred while sober, but after a night of drinking I get clumsy — I managed to fall down the stairs in Fred Segal and up the stairs at the Getty. In the Getty Brie was my only witness, but in Fred Segal was helped up by two well-heeled gentlemen who were horrified ("Oh my Gawd. Are you OK??") to witness the massacre of my ass.
Today I received my fourth (each bruise counts as one) reminder of a weekend of debauchery — the three-day-later boy voicemail. Having been recently scorched by romance, I was ready for a rumble when we went out Friday night. First to El Chavo for dinner and then 4100 Club. So when these three young 'uns (seriously. 23 years old. architecture students. one of whom was wearing an alpaca wool sweater.) approached Brie, her glam friend Genevieve and me with the lamest pick-up line ever (again, seriously. it was: "how old are you?" who asks that?? of women obviously over 25? of any woman, really?), I decided to try the "be a super mean bitch" approach. I told my only-slightly-post-pubescent suitor, Joe, that he really needn't bother, that he could talk to me when he was 42 when, while still a child, he had made it through the extended adolescence of men in their 30s and had already passed through Midlife Crisisville where he had taken up welding and bought a Porsche or Mini Cooper. Somehow, though, Joe was not deterred; perhaps he was even provoked? And because being a super mean bitch only lasts through drink 3, when beer brain takes over, I ended up giving him my number.
And thus tonight I got the most 23-years-old, too-cool-for-school voicemail ever: "Listen, I burnt myself. (Ed. Note: Please notice that he does not begin the voicemail by reminding me who he is BECAUSE HE IS TOO COOL FOR THAT) I think I jumped the gun. I tried to take up welding, which I think was your advice. I think I have to find another hobby. Hey, this is Joe by the way. We met Friday night. Anyway, give me a call if you want to go out or something. (Ed. Note: Or something.) My cell phone number is..."
Awww, 23-year-old boys are so cute. You can't date anyone whose hair you'd like to ruffle, though. Fraught with Freudian peril.