Thursday, September 5, 2013

Episode 112: How to Go to Rehab

OK, so rehab is funny. I don't mean "oh, that's weird" funny. I mean "uh-oh I am going to puke in a minute because I am laughing so hard" funny. In a lot of cases, that latter type is wildly inappropriate because it always happens like right in the middle of someone spilling their guts in a very intimate way and they say something like "oh, I was very upset because when I was one my kitty-cat died because she had been sleeping in the washing machine and one day my mother turned it on and drowned her and to this day, clean clothes upset me." I made that one up because I believe in other peoples' anonymity, but I am not disguising many of those facts too closely. Rehab is exactly like sitting on the porch of a country store where that porch is filled with old, crazy people telling stories that don't make any sense, only instead of a country store and old crazy people, it's a flourescently-lit room and a bunch of twenty-two year olds. And you.

One of the things that stressed me myself and I out the most was the part where I had to sit in front of everyone in my group ("group" is the word that they use in rehab for a group) and share (rehab for "talk") all of the consequences and repercussions of my substance abuse. I was nervous because I was in a large-ish group of what I can only call over-achievers when it came to the consequences department. I listened to everyone's awesome, dramatic stories about DUIs and car wrecks and houses burning down and whatnot - all of which I wrote down for my upcoming class in screenwriting - and kept thinking, gosh! They are so lucky to have all these stories to share! It makes sharing so easy! And then it was my turn and all I could think of was stuff like "oh, I was once so drunk I made a friend cry when I served Earl Grey as a morning tea at a bridal shower." Or "I was epically fucked-up when I didn't tip the mailman last year, so now he throws my mail on the ground." It was quite a quandary to be in to have all those eyes on me, waiting for the good stuff, and coming up blank. After some really hard thinking (read: when the detox meds wore off), I did manage to remember a whole bunch of terrible stuff, but there was a moment there when I thought I might get kicked out of this very exclusive club for not being thug enough. But I rebounded with my terrifying rock-bottom tale of drinking a glass of Corbett Canyon wine. That was well and truly too much for anyone to believe, and all of my group members shook their heads in disgust and admitted me to their ranks and, newly-forever-bonded, our eyes turned to the new fella, who was going on about something over there in the corner, something about being so drunk that he accidentally took all of his vintage Charlie's Angels dolls out of their original packaging and you could see it on our faces: some people are just beyond help.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Episode 111: How to Have a Cleaning Lady

So I have this cleaning lady now and it makes me feel funny. I used to do all this household stuff day-in, day-out (with the help of my sister/housemate) and now here I am watching someone else do it. Sometimes I am here while she's cleaning and I try to look super-busy because it would feel weird if I was sitting around watching "Dynasty" reruns while she was swabbing out the bathroom, right? Sometimes I go to the library, or to the mall and just walk around until she leaves. I love her, but it's weird. I don't want to come off as a 1%-er. Last winter, I used her Friday visits as an excuse to go to the movie theater and I managed to see nine of the ten nominees for Best Picture, which is why I almost won the Oscar pool this year (fuck you, Christoph Waltz, for losing it for me). Sorry, "Amour," I didn't see you until the new year.

I inherited this wonderful cleaning lady when a friend died in a freaky accident - seriously freaky - and I am ashamed to admit it, but it was not too may days after the funeral before I poached her. I am a bad person! But you know what? My bathroom is clean. But every time I come home from the movies - or the job I have now - on every-other-Friday when she comes, I walk around I look at all the dusted picture frames and all the fluffed pillows and the grease-free-stovetop and think of my lost friend Jay - especially when I come upon the freshly polished mosaic backgammon board he made for me -  and I thank him for the cleaning lady. And oh yeah, the time we had together, blah blah blah, insert touching moment here.

Whatever! Clean toilet! Every time I flush, I think of Jay!  Hahahahahah, he would like that. Seriously, he would.

Episode 110: How to Mow the Lawn

When I was like 13 or something, I got forced - sorry, hired - to mow the lawn of my neighbor. This was in the early 80s, and they paid me $35, which was kind of a lot when you think about it. But it was also four or five acres and at the time I only had access to a push mower. It took a while each weekend, and this was before I had a Walkman or anything, so I would sing songs while I did it. I only knew the words to two songs: Bette Midler's "The Rose" and Juice Newton's "Queen of Hearts."  There might have been some others that I had a faint grasp on - I remember quite a bit of Hall & Oates' "Private Eyes," but I couldn't sing it all the way through if you threatened me with a wedgie. Also, maybe that Aprilwine song that I now can't remember. But it seems like I knew that at one point.

ANYWAY! I would sing "The Rose" and "Queen of Hearts" over and over while I mowed, trying to figure out how long it would take me based on how many times I could sing them. Ten times! PAY ME! Eight times! PAY ME!

This neighbor also had a leaky septic tank and that was funny/disgusting to be singing "The Rose" while skirting the stinkfest of their backyard. The man of the house was a district manager for Shoney's and sometimes even now when I have had the misfortune of being in a Shoney's, I steal all the packaged condiments from the all-you-can-stuff-in-your-face bar just to get him back for making me march through his sewage, even though I am sure he's long dead.  I've got a box full of pancake syrup big enough to turn the US Olympic team into diabetics.  As if singing "The Rose" over and over for three hours wasn't hard enough on your pancreas.

Episode 109: How to Get a Job

Oh, I know! I'm the last person who should dispense advice about this. Or at least that's what my sister, sitting upstairs pecking at her iPad pretending to be on is thinking!  Hi Meg!

Getting a job is hard. My first job was dispensing ice cream cones at Opryland USA, a long-gone amusement park where I had to wear a double-breasted VEST in shades of yellow and olive (with red trim) and since I was positioned at a shop in the front of the park, I had to give a lot of directions. "Across the bridge and to the left!" was all I ever said; the park was circular....they'd eventually get there.

My third job was at a natural foods store in Memphis - I worked in the kitchen and let me tell you...vegetarian is one thing. Healthy is another. Because we put ten pounds of butter and/or sour cream in EVERYTHING. Even smoothies, I think. So ha ha vegan weirdos!  Also? I was so poor during this period that I ate a baked potato every day as my only meal. The big miracle is that I didn't crap French fries on a daily basis.

My fifth job was as an assistant manager at Waldenbooks. One time I had to tape all the windows because Hurricane Hugo was coming. Based on the inventory of the store, I couldn't blame him for wanting to blow the windows in. Show me fifty copies of "Dianetics" and "The Shell Seekers" and I'd want to go on a highly windy killing spree myself.

My seventh job was at a restaurant where I made three hundred dollars a night waiting tables. But somehow I only got home with about fifty. You can see how this happened on the upcoming show "Law & Order: DG, WTF?"

My tenth job involved me photo-editing and doing graphic design for a respected online news magazine. They fired me, so y'all can quit reading it now!

My new job has me in a kitchen again - full circle! - though not dipping ice cream. I'm making marshmallows and let me tell you....that shit is NUTS. Who knew you could do such a thing?

Anyway: there's jobs, y'alls. Go get one!