Wednesday, July 20, 2011


About a year and a half ago, my car doors were stolen:

While waiting for police and the tow truck, a woman paced around my car with her hands behind her back, just clicking her tongue and staring at me but not saying a word. She did this for at least an hour or so while we were out there handling the situation.

I thought it was annoying at the time and I was already emotionally fragile from my redesigned vehicle. But since then, I've come into contact with other older women of that culture who do the same thing. One lives down the hall now and I swear she looks at people out her peep hole.

When I was jogging this morning, two people at separate times were walking against my direction on the left side of the sidewalk. I was annoyed and may have even yelled "walk on the right!" because it was already 100* at 6:30am. But I was delirious and can't remember if I did.

I was always taught to walk on the right and have vague memories of being told to get over here as a kid when I was walking in other people's way.  It's one of those social rules that you learn and then do without thinking.

Everyone has run into the "challenge" of recognizing when something is not happening to annoy you but is really just a cultural difference... deodorant, hollering/whistling at women, smiling or not smiling, proper bathroom etiquette (if you haven't encountered that last one, count your lucky stars).

Learning socio-cultural rules, even within our country, happens on a curve... one that sometimes resembles Lombard Street... and my mom always says patience is a virtue.

This is not meant to be a lesson in tolerance, but writing it down helps me to remember that people aren't trying to annoy me. It's your own pet peeve, and you have to own it. Maybe it will help you next time some yahoo from Butte, North Dakota is esca-lefting at Dupont Circle and they're clearly in need of a warm DC welcome.

I leave for Paris tomorrow and look forward to making many-a French cultural faux pas (har, har) while over there- if nothing else, but to share with you.

À bientôt!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The One That Got Away

Life's not fair. Now, there's an annoying phrase.

I was talking to a friend yesterday who's been in the application process for a job they really wanted. My friend was recently eliminated from the process for having smoked pot in the past (25 or less times). And  not recent past, we're talking 2+ years.

I'm by no means an active, or even passive, member of NORML but like many Americans I have my views on the way we treat some substances versus others. Generally speaking, I don't think employers should be allowed to ask history of marijuana use questions, they should not drug test candidates, and most importantly, they should not disqualify outstanding candidates for past marijuana use solely based on some arbitrary rule of what's "acceptable experimentation" and what has "exceeded our [their] standards" (that's the phrase they actually said to my friend).

Hearing my friend's story also made me think about the way that we decide what's "good" and what's not. I heard a researcher on Positive Youth Development speak the other day about how society/parents decide whether or not a child is "doing well." One of the most interesting things he said is that often we equate the absence of bad behaviors (drinking, smoking, unsafe sex) to doing good/well. 

If you'd asked my friend: During the same time you were trying pot, did you volunteer? Yes.  Were you active in your school, were you nice to your classmates, did you play sports, did you help those in need? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. Would that have mattered?

Why do we classify adults as good in the absence of bad too?

I consider my friend a good person, not because they don't drink and drive and aren't addicted to drugs; they don't steal, cheat or lie. I consider them a good person because of all the GOOD they do, not the bad that they avoid. My friend is a thoughtful significant other, a smart college graduate, and an engaged citizen who contributes to their community.

I know that it's not my friend's loss that this employer chose to pass on an exceptional candidate for the job.

But to my friend, it sure feels like defeat.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I don't pee standing up.

I live with a Manist. He thinks men are better at EVERYTHING.  In fact, check out this piece of art that adorns our walls:

One time, I vandalized it and it took like a week and a half for him to notice:

I ignore his sexist pig-ism most of the time but sometimes he actually says things of value that make you think. Since I can remember, my boyfriend has always said the problem with women's sports is that women themselves aren't fans of women's sports.

I have to agree.

Much to my embarrassment I had no idea it was the Women's World Cup.  I actually asked when I saw the USA USA USA chanting on Facebook: "is it men's or women's?"  So maybe I'm not a soccer fan more than anything (although I love to play the sport) but what's funny is that I searched my phone's News app to read about the USA victory 15 minutes after the win and it was no where to be found. ....huh!?

This game is potentially being heralded as one of the greatest comebacks in SPORTS history... not WOMEN'S sports history. But why does it have to be a head shot to the net in the 122nd minute or an ill-tempered college athlete to make headlines?

We hear about men's stats all the time like Jeter's 3,000th hit, a feat that some 28 other people have achieved. On that note, I'm pleased that Jeter took a backseat to Abby Wambach this weekend but I'm discouraged that this is the way it is (see Words with Friends for other annoying phrases).

Women's sports don't have to be the Taylor Swift to men's sports' Kayne. We can make a deal to make a big deal about our daughter's, mom's, and sister's achievements as much as we make them about the guys. Women's sports equality will be an uphill battle. And truth is, we will continue to constantly fight for headlines that aren't once-in-a-lifetime come-backs or shitty news obsessions with  female athletes behaving badly.

If one thing is for sure, it's that we will fight fair with the kind of integrity, humility, and strength we saw this past weekend: "This isn't good enough, we haven't won anything. We won a game, and that's it. [...] Obviously, we have two more big games coming up," Wambach said, "but this gives you the kind of confidence that just makes you feel like you can fly. I'm proud to be a part of this."

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Good Samaritan

We had drinks at a friend's new place last night. The Mister, in his true Rockstar fashion, drank his weight in the King and bourbon.

Now I'm driving 66 at the only time of day when there isn't a traffic jam. Mister tells me he feels like he's about to taste the Chipotle and pigs n' a blanket he had for dinner for the second time. I pulled over...

He's done now and as we're about to pull away, another car pulls over in front of us. Thinking it's a fellow rockstar, my Rockstar starts yelling out the window.

A guy with curly black hair a la Troy Polamalu walks toward the passenger side asking if we needed help. I was skeptical, foot ready to move to the accelerator at a moments notice. Rockstar tells him were fine and Troy wishes us well and goes back to his car. Then, I found myself instantly annoyed that Troy had wasted his kindness on a drunk puking on the side of the highway.

Living in this area makes skeptics of so many who come here. It's hard to hold out hope for these small gestures of humanity to be more of the rule than the exception.

All you can do is find a way to pay it forward.

Adapt yourself to the things among which your lot has been cast and love sincerely the fellow creatures with whom destiny has ordained that you shall live. -Marcus Aurelius

Friday, July 8, 2011

Words with Friends

I like words.  I've always liked learning new meanings and finding ways to work them into my vocabulary.  If you feel the same way, read The English is Coming by Leslie Dunton-Downer.

I'm not a word nerd although there's a special place in my heart for Fraiser and I'm certainly not the most eloquent speaker. If you've ever been in class or meetings with me, I'm a spaz and I'm lucky if I can get a sentence out half the time.  So, far be it for me to judge but, God love 'em, there are those people who manage to use the most annoying words and sayings every chance they get. They have radar for the turns-of-phrase that make my ass twitch.

I'd like to suggest that we find replacements for or simply banish the following list:

1. Everything happens for a reason.
2. Word. (yeah, people still say that)
3. Nuance. 
4. Could care less. (it's couldn't care less, for those who can't seem to grasp that toughy.)
5. Maverick.
6. That's what's up. (is it?)
7. By the by.
8. Uber.
9. Can I ask a question? (you're going to anyway.)
10. Let me know. (like at the end of every email...)

I'm sure each of us has their own list of irritating colloquialisms that make us want to stick sporks in our eyes and dig out our brains. Please share.
In the meantime, enjoy one of my favorite quotes from Clueless (aka, the greatest movie of our time):

Paul Rudd: Be seein' you
Brittany Murphy: Yeah, I hope not sporadically!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


When I have nothing particular to write about I decided that I'd share a memory with you. I have tons of embarrassing, weird, try-to-forget moments from my childhood.
One of my earliest memories is of kindergarten. Surprisingly (?) I was pretty shy in school as a kid, despite what my dad might argue.  It was show-and-tell and I really don't remember what I brought... probably the pound puppy that had the Velcro pocket in the belly where the little pound puppies were... you remember...

Anyway, one girl, a girl I remember as being one of the popular girls in kindergarten, brought in an item that received a lot of attention. To this day I don't know if my memory serves me correctly, but I always think of this day.

I vividly recall a small group of girls huddled around while one of them held this:

A urinal cake.

A pink urinal cake.  At the time, I had no idea what it was... to be fair, the girl who brought it probably had no idea either. But I remember exactly what it looked like.  One day when I was old enough to realize boys pee in a urinal, I figured out what it was. 
Unbeknownst to me, this was to be the first of many hilarious situations I'd live to tell.  Even then, I think I knew I'd end up that sort of asshole kid making fun of the stupid things people do but I always wanted to be the popular girl with the cool show-and-tell.

You know what they say, who doesn't want their cake and to eat it too?

Good shit, bad shit, bird shit...

A friend once told me I should blog. I can only assume for one of a few possible reasons:

1. She's tired of reading my freaking opinions on her Facebook newsfeed.
2. I'm a lot funnier on paper than I am in real life.
3. Shit just happens to me. all. the. time.

Plus, I live in sin with the most ridiculous person on the planet and since the blog Things My Boyfriend Says is already taken, you'll have to settle for Abel's pithy maxims with a sprinkle of his "isms" for good measure.

Let's begin...