I Still Talk To Fruit

We’ve been down this road. I previously confessed my tendency to consider the feelings of inanimate objects. There was no fallout from that disclosure, and I have no regrets for divulging what weighs on my heart.

I Still Talk To Fruit

Since that post, things haven’t necessarily escalated, but this tendency hasn’t diminished, either. Does this make me a little crazy—or just irresistibly caring? I’ll let you decide.

I won’t leave for work in the morning without opening all the shutters in the whole house. Is it because I love the morning sun pouring into the space I love? Kiiiiinda. Is it because, as we’ve discussed, I’m a morning person and the idea of a new day, with new opportunities, starts coming to life as soon as I welcome in the new day’s rays? Sorrrrta.

Is it that I feel like the house wants to see outside?

It is.

I feel the house exhale a satisfied “ahhh” as I begin opening the shutters—and I feel it escalate with every new window I open.

I sometimes think it’s a shame the A/C unit is outside the house, working its butt off for a home it can’t even see into. That’s why I love opening the laundry room shutters the most. The unit is right outside that window, and I feel like I’m giving him a peek inside the house he’s grinding it out for.

Side Note: I do not think the A/C unit says, “Mornin’ Miss Anna” every time I open those shutters—and whoever told you that (or insinuated it), is a slanderous lying liar trying to tarnish my good name. Seriously, that would be so tilted if I thought Marvin the air conditioner greeted me each day.

umm

Is it really that weird? Asking for a friend.

A lot of my angst around non-human things centers around guilt I feel about the things I choose for my day (a towel, a banana, a shirt), or for a recipe (a bunch of cilantro, a package of mushrooms), or for groceries (lemons, a roasted chicken, avocados). I never want what I choose to cause the ones not chosen any grief.

I Still Talk To Fruit

Not knowing (if things want to get picked or want to stay with their family) is what weighs on me.

Enter paper towels.

Most of you already know, we shop at Costco. One of the things we buy in bulk is paper towels, and they go up in the laundry room utility closet. Every time I go in to get a new roll, I’m momentarily paralyzed by the uncertainty of their desires. Do the rolls want me to choose them, or are their fingers crossed that they get to stay? Is getting chosen like getting OFF death row, or is it like heading TO the electric chair? Is it like being pulled up from the minor league to the big league or is it like being yanked from the big leagues and sent to coach junior high? Do they consider this closet a place to hang with their crew—and do crew things—or do they think they’re stranded on an island, where most of their days are spent waiting to get rescued?

I’ve convinced myself that, like people, they want to do what they were created to do. They want to clean up spills and get your count tops spotless. I have to believe that. For instance, if I was put on this Earth to break dance (and I’m almost positive I was), and I never got to shock and lock, then I’d never fulfill my role and my existence would feel incomplete. Yeah, hanging out with other break dancers would be cool for a while, but what I’d really want is to get out and execute a real smooth b-boy sway into a flawless windmill. Then I’d be whole.

So I tell myself that as soon as I grab a new roll, the other rolls are chanting and cheering it on. “Eddie! Get it boy! Show’em how it’s done son!” Sure, there’d be one hater not chiming in (there’s a hater in every bulk pack of Bounty—trust me on this.)

I usually just grab the roll, take his jacket plastic off and place him on the paper towel holder. I let him know we’ll be spending a couple of weeks together, doing big things. I’m more and more convinced my choosing him made him proud.

I also experience a fair amount of guilt over tossing a product before I’ve used the last bit of it. Liquid soap, bar soap, mustard,

Side Note: That’s not why I drink pickle juice from the jar before I toss it.

I Still Talk To Fruit

Can we just go ahead and agree that the last bit of any product is like, “Wait! Don’t go! No fair!” Here they are, surely knowing they’re in their twilight days, but wholly unprepared for a sudden death—not when they still had life left.

Don’t you feel bad now that I’ve shed light on this unfairness? WELCOME TO MY WORLD.

I’m consistent, if nothing else—I continue to apologize to things I run into. I can’t stop; the apology is out before I know it. And it’s a double sorry, because I’m sorry for the object—and the body part involved. My body is counting on me to execute the most basic function of protecting it. It probably knows that some things—like car wrecks, falling shelves at Kroger and spooning too-hot soup into my mouth—are accidents, with no ill-intent whatsoever. But I’d bet good money my body expects me to protect it from slamming into a door facing I’ve successfully avoided for 10 years. I bet it absolutely does not give me the benefit of the doubt when I smack the hair dryer into my head, when I’ve escaped this errant motion the last 490 days. How could I NOT apologize?

I feel bad for things that annoy me just by doing their job—like our chirping fire alarm. The ONLY other way I’d know about its dead battery could end in my own death. Also doing its job? My alarm clock. I wake up about three minutes before my alarm goes off around 90% of the time. But when it does get to obnoxiously buzz me awake, I feel aggravated and bitter—but then I feel bad because it’s doing the job I actually asked it to do.

And I’m not about to hit snooze. Snoozing holds no appeal for me. All it does is provide a new layer of annoyance. Why would I want to relive the shock of the alarm, over and over, for nine-minute bouts of semi-sleep? I liken it to snacking. I’m not a snacker because I want the real deal—a meal. And when nighttime comes, I want the real deal—sleep. That’s probably why I’m not a napper either. I want the whole shebang.

Side Note: Obviously I snack sometimes and nap on occasion. Please—I’m not THAT weird.

I Still Talk To Fruit

Maybe I’m a little weird; whatever.

As bad as I feel for all these things, you’d think personality tests results would show extremely high empathy levels, but surprisingly, they do not. I know why. It’s because those online tests are trying to discern if you are empathetic to the human race—which I’m probably not. I’d like to be, but mostly, I have too many issues with humans and their …  ways.

I do, however, have an abundance of potentially misplaced empathy for animals. Not house pets—they’ve got more than enough crazies caring for them. Sorrrrrry, I shouldn’t say things like that; I know I’m the minority and I know it’s now societally acceptable to call a dog your child, to let your hairy canine sleep in your bed, and to let his butt-licking mouth touch your pillow.

I’m talking about wilder animals. I find myself feeling kinda sad for animals who didn’t have a choice in who they’d be in our world. Take crows, for instance. The stiff ones that skulk around restaurant patios with their beaks half open, squawking loudly for a french fry. They’re not pretty, they don’t move gracefully, their voice isn’t melodic and they get a lot of dirty looks—what a crappy life.

That brings us to vultures. How would you like to come into this beautiful world … as a turkey vulture?

I Talk To Fruit

Imagine sort of looking like an eagle, but having an unattractive head that’s a little bit dinosaur’ish. Then imagine that you weren’t designed to hunt; but strictly to be nature’s sanitation service. What a fate.

– Daddy, why am I bald?
– Oh, sweetie—your fleshy head makes being in carcasses more sanitary. You don’t want those pesky intestines sticking to your pretty feathers, now do you?

– Babe, what sounds good for dinner?
– I could really go for some road kill.
– Mmm, raccoon innards—that’s what up. You plan the best dates!

– Aye Dude, what’chu you wanna do today?
– Oh I don’t know, maybe just sit on this telephone pole, look down menacingly at all these passers-by and wait for some juicy roadkill to waft up into our prehistoric nostrils?
– A’ight, cool.

– Hey Dad, I’m heading out with the crew—I’ll see ya later.
– Son, you’re not a crew, you’re a kettle. A crew works at a construction site, or is in charge of flying a plane. When you hang with your kind, you’re a kettle. Remember that.

Side Note: Vultures can sniff out a dead critter from a mile away. That’s how I feel about some of my coworkers feet. But that’s another story.

Another Side Note: Speaking of being born this way. I feel so bad for vegan vultures.
– Mom, what’s for dinner?

Probably possum.
MOTHER, I’m vegan!
Fine, rattle snake?
Mom!  
Well Heavens, can you have armadillo?
Mom! I can have leaves, sticks and dirt that’s never had an animal walk on it. That’s it.
Can you have frogs?
-<flies away really hard>

Yet Another Side Note While We’re On The Topic: Wanna know which non-human I don’t feel especially sorry for? Siri.

She’s extremely helpful, and I often wonder how I survived without her—but she also makes me shake my fist at the sky. Why is it that she always says “left” and “right” EXCEPT when I need it most—when I’m just getting started out of a parking lot. “Go northwest on Mulberry.” NORTHWEST? Sooo, up and sideways? Come ON, Siri. Are you here to help me or hurt me?

She’s also super repetitive and naggy—UNTIL I need it most. “In 2 miles, turn right on Bishop Hills Drive. In 1.5 miles, turn right on Bishop Hills Drive. In 1 mile, turn right on Bishop Hills Drive. In half a mile, turn right on Bishop Hills Drive.” Then when I’m going through the light, “Turn right on to Bishop Hills Drive.” That’s too late, Siri Michelle Gellar!

And how about her favorite non-directive, “Proceed to the route.” I’d love to … IF I KNEW THE ROUTE!

Oh well, she makes us laugh though. Recently, she kept calling Chicon Street “Chicken Street” and it got funnier every. single. time.”Continue on Chicken Street. Arrived at destination—1171 Chicken Street.”

Go home Siri, you’re drunk.

I’d like to say that this time next year, I won’t be attaching human emotions to inanimate objects, but I think we both know that’s unlikely. I, in fact, just had a little pep talk with our shy peonies. It was less of a pep talk and more of a guilt trip. We got them from my Grandma’s garden after she passed away, and although they’re further along than last year, they’re not really rep’ing her the way I’d like (and the way I know my Grandma would like!) I got down real close to the new, but flowerless growth, and used the sandwich method … told them I was excited for what they would become (then slid in how disappointed Grandma would be if they didn’t step up to the plate) then said I knew they’d come through with flying colors.

I’ll let y’all know if they respond the way the sago palms did.

I Still Talk To Fruit

Do you talk to fruit?

Let’s link up on Facebook and Twitter!

Advertisements

Share If You Agree

I’m not afraid to say I’m sorry—and some of these apologies are long overdue. Facebook has done all it can do to help us declare our love, devotion and allegiances; but I feel like I’ve not only let them down, but scores of others, due to my unwillingness to share what I’m told to share. Let’s go.

brother

I have this brother, but I couldn’t—in good conscience, hit “share,”—not because I don’t have the best brother in the world, but because it’s one of the most poorly constructed memes my feed has ever seen. Since when did ellipses become two periods? Oh that’s right, just up until the 11th line. They had to warm up, I guess. Where is the apostrophe on the complicated contraction “can’t?” The worst part? It doesn’t even complete the thought it ramped up to. It started out as an if/then, and left us hanging.

It was like saying, “If you like food and love meat and adore spices and can’t wait to eat it and enjoy it and savor it and can’t be without it !!” Don’t even get me started on the space before the two exclamations. Sorry—I can’t share ill-designed memes.

dad

Again with the atrocious sentence structure—but anyway, Daddy, I didn’t post this (like I was ordered to do), even though you fit the criteria stated in the meme. I am truly sorry. I hope you weren’t on Facebook the day it made the rounds, because I’m quite sure its absence on my wall made you second-guess every parenting decision you ever made. Maybe you even looked back with regret, the day you came home from work to hear of a fight Jeni and I had—and proceeded to ask HER if I deserved a spanking. That was a pretty bad misstep—which not surprisingly led to me getting spanked, but I assure you it’s not why I didn’t post this horribly written meme.

Jesus

Jesus, I wasn’t ashamed of You; I didn’t ignore You; and I do love You. I just wasn’t too keen on the rendering of your beautiful face—the eye shadow seemed excessive, and far too much time was spent on the chisel of your already perfect cheek and jaw. The red border around the green background also threw me off, as did the out-of-character exclamation point. That’s all—that’s why I didn’t share. Because I do totally love You. I’m sorry for possibly seeming like a heathen when I didn’t share this.

lies

I almost agree. The thing is, sometimes we need to fib out of kindness. There is just no way to always tell the truth, if you have a considerate bone in your body. You don’t agree?

“Your new baby isn’t very cute. She almost is, but those thin lips and that scaly skin are super off-putting.”

“I’m gonna pass on meeting you for dinner this weekend. It’s monumentally more important to me to get this bra off and eat cereal while standing up.”

“Sometimes I wonder if you’re responsible for the low-life deviant your son has become.”

Sorry I didn’t share what was intended to be a character-proving meme, but was actually a short-sighted, inconsiderate theory.

pets

I don’t own a pet, so this wasn’t directed at me. However, even if I did have a boxer named Rookie or a bulldog named Shakes, I’d never be able to share this meme—I’m sorry. It’s in need of some punctuation and some grounding in facts. Dogs ARE pets—and that’s OK, because pets are certainly family. We needn’t split hairs here. While we’re on it, “Like” and “Share” have incorrect punctuation around them—and there are two exclamation points in a 3×3 space. Again, I’m sorry, but no.

prison

I’m sorry I didn’t share this gem. I totally should have, because if I believe anything with fervor, it’s that declaring my own personal, possibly divisive and inciting opinions on Facebook is a wonderful idea and an excellent use of time.

proud parent

I’m mostly interested in why this meme came to pass. I want the back story. And not unlike so many of these head-shaking calls to action, the punctuation and “your” usage is dreadful, so I’m gonna scroll on by without apology here.

gym

Sorry I didn’t share this riveting sentiment. I was lost, broken and lonely—and doing some lunges at the g.y.m. And now I’m s.o.r.e. And still quite lost trying to find the nearest Chipotle.

daughter

I don’t have a daughter, but it’s such a relief to know how I’d hold her in my heart for a lifetime—just by sharing this meme on my Facebook page. This mom seems to have a particularly large heart area. No need to do things with my beloved daughter when it’s so much more efficient and lasting to post about my undying love on social media. I’m sorry I don’t have a daughter so I could circumvent all the bond-building with a simple share.

daughter 2

Again, I don’t have a daughter, but you know who I just realized does? MY MOTHER. What the hell, Moma?

Heaven

I love someone in Heaven, but I couldn’t share this because I didn’t connect with the chosen image. Heaven is everything good and perfect, so I know it doesn’t have hard benches. If the designer had gone with a big leather chair from Restoration Hardware or maybe a polar fleece beanbag, I’d have hit “share” immediately. I’m sorry your choice of imagery kept me from sharing.

family

The sentiment is probably fairly accurate, but again, I couldn’t share this because of the sheer number of design and punctuation flaws. “No family is perfect we argue, we fight.” Really? Even people who hate all things composition know that’s a pitiful attempt at a sentence, right? And what happened to the poor “will” towards the end? The previous serif fonts were like, “You’re not one of us! You’re san serif, so just get away from our family, you freak!”

Pure love

Pure Love doesn’t pay the AT&T bill. Being a mother is the most important position in the world—agreed—but let’s work on our word choice here and maybe more “likes” will follow. First of all, let’s aim to be less cheesy than a crock of queso. Second of all, let’s bring home some bacon so we can feed the children. Do those two things and I’ll share with abandon.

sizes

I agree, but I didn’t share, sorry. The image chosen was too limiting for the sentiment. I’d have shared if they’d chosen four beautiful things—all varying sizes—like they purport to believe. Preferably—this lady, a Jaguar XJR, a quarter-pounder with cheese, and an itty bitty jungle frog.

lady friends

I didn’t tag my lady loves like the meme recommended because of one simple reason. I’m not seeking confirmation of their devotion. I’m not unsure of their loyalty. Except Ellen—I’m not all that confident she’d repost and tag back. Or Maya Rudolph. If history is any indicator, I’d be waiting on that validation for quite some time. Better to just go on not knowing. Ignorance is bliss when you’re forcing the hands of true friends you’ve never met. Sorry.

sister

Sorry I didn’t share this, but I had a good reason—and it wasn’t because I don’t love my sister. It was because I’d just told her I loved her in a text. It was also because I knew she saw this in her Facebook feed and didn’t share it for me. I’m the little sister, and little sisters can be kinda bratty—sorry.

children

I should’ve shared this, because I agree, but I didn’t and I’m sorry. It just seemed too remedial—like saying, “Cold beer should be sipped and enjoyed, not used to wash the dishes.” It was the captain-obviousness of it that kept me scrolling right through.

arms

Yeahhh, the day I share a fear-mongering political post like this is the day I renounce my love of guacamole. Not. Gonna. Happen. It should’ve said, “Unfollow me if you don’t agree” because that’s what I did.

I hop on Facebook to see cute babies, unlikely friendships between animals and killer sushi spreads. I also pop in to see what interesting things my friends are up to. I’ve never once thought, “I just can’t make my mind up about immigration—let me log on to Facebook and see what my high school friends think.”

Side Note: No offense, high school friends. Y’all are the best. Go Bulldogs!

creepy eyes

I’m sorry I didn’t share this, but quite frankly, I found the eyes just a wee bit crazed and creepy. I didn’t think it painted an accurate portrayal of my deep and abiding love for my mom. I’ll try to snag and share the next one I see that has kinder, more childlike eyes. I love you, Moma—which means I love you enough to not creep you out with eerie-eyed smiley faces in your Facebook feed.

stray

Happiness is feeding a stray if you want that stray to be YOUR stray. And many of you do! More power to you and God bless you (sorry, God, I’m not bossing You around—You totally don’t have to do that … only if it was in Your plans and You want to … I mean, I think it would be swell of You, but that’s Your call. Next time I’ll say, “May God bless you.”)

Maybe the meme should say, “KINDNESS is feeding a stray.” Because, like, I’m sure it makes you happy to do it—I know how happy it makes me to give homeless people food—but are you going to stay happy when you’ve got a new member in your family and your 4-year old wants to name him Tooter? Anyway, that’s why I didn’t share. I thought the word choice was suspect.

bitching

I didn’t share because I already know bitching burns calories. So does complaining and so does whining. These are facts. We wouldn’t do them so often if they didn’t help us work off french fries. #sorrynotsorry

idiot

With all of my being, I hope I don’t need to explain why I didn’t share this handmade sign. I have four reasons, but I’ll be happy if you just know the main one. Are cyber-friendship depends on it.

one eye

I’m sorry to be so picky, but I couldn’t share this since I actually have two eyes. It felt wrong to act like I only had one—like I was fishing for sympathy. I also could really use some past tense on “love” … “because I LOVED my mom.” Combine those two dilemmas and that’s one big non-share here. I also vividly recall my first thought upon opening my eye(s), and it was more along the lines of, “Feed me, Womb Lady!”

Anyway, you know how, when you check out at Target or Banana Republic, they say, “Do you want to save 15% on your purchase today? And you feel so dumb saying no? It’s that whole “Yeah, but” thing. Yeah, but I don’t want a credit card.

It’s the same with all these incriminating memes on Facebook. Do you love your mom? Yeah, but I don’t want to share something where “your” and “you’re” are treated as the same word. Do you believe that guns don’t kill people—that people living in a culture of glorified violence with unfettered access to firearms kill people—with guns? Yeah, but I don’t do politics on social media.

I can’t help but think I’m not alone, so if you want to get more likes and shares, proofread your work, put thought into your imagery, and … you know what, scrap that. Stop posting things and asking for shares and likes. It’s obnoxious and it ruins Facebook for people who want to see this:

friendship

and this:

sushi

and this:

tinyfrog

Let’s link up on Facebook and Twitter!

 

I’m A Banana

If you’re like me, you have seasons of carefree living—and seasons of introspection. I think our soul knows that looking inward and facing hard truths is something we can only endure occasionally. That occasion for me, was last week—on a Tuesday of all days. After taking a short quiz, I found out that if I was a car, I’d be a Volvo Station Wagon.

It’s simply not true. I’m a spirited and reliable Volkswagen Beetle, and I’ve known this since I was a 12. I think the discouraging station wagon result came from my preference to read, rather than watch Hoarders—and to cook, rather than drive through Taco Bell. I guess favoring a clean house, and order in my life, automatically separates me from my spunky, resilient Beetle persona? Maybe my somewhat abnormal love of spring cleaning catapults me into this sensible, rule-following ride?

I guess buzzfeed—and its ilk—are all-knowing? Everyday I see a new quiz pop up on Facebook, letting me know my 5th grade boyfriend should have been named “Devin” or that my co-worker is “Bulda” from Frozen. And now this: I’m a station wagon?

That’s fine. But before you laugh at me, you should know this: the celebrity I’m supposed to get drunk with is Rihanna. Bang. If I was truly a Volvo wagon, do you think the internet would send me off to get liquored up with Rihanna? No. They’d have picked Bea Arthur or Nick Lachey and they didn’t.

rihanna

It made me wonder what kind of house they think I am. I already know I’m a bungalow. Of this, I am sure. But I bet my answer to, “What would I find you doing at a lively house party?” would result in them telling me I’m a boxy, characterless, 2-story track home in the suburbs, right? Not cool buzzfeed, not cool.

Don’t get me wrong, I found out some lovely things about myself, too—things I will hang on to. Things that will sustain me during those lonely hours cruising in my station wagon.

I, my dear friends, am a beaver. You heard me. I am “creative, practical and well-organized.” If there is someone in need, I will not hesitate to offer a helping hand.

Side Note: This isn’t entirely true. More than once I’ve skipped right by someone needing help with a jammed printer. I’m actually more willing to help people not be societal jackholes. I think the quiz tagged me as helpful because when I took it, I was an hour away from my favorite meal and I said that I would, indeed, help out a co-worker whose tire was flat. But that was just the promise of good food talking.

As for my spirit animal, (which is wholly different from my regular animal) you’ll be happy to know that I’m a wolf. The internet knows, based on ten questions, that I’m stealth—with a great sense of hearing and smell. When you’re a wolf like I am, “family comes first.” I form deep connections with close friends and loved ones and they know I’ll protect them at all costs. I’m “loyal, devoted and passionate.” They say I’m best matched with swans, otters and crows, so I’m assuming everyone I love is one of these three or … uh-oh.

Supposedly, as a wolf, I need to watch out for people who are spiders or foxes. Trust me, I know who these folks are, and I definitely watch out for them. I’m pretty sure there’s a fox in our mail room at work—and I know some spiders who bring their cart with them on the greeting card aisle at Target.

You decide.

You decide.

Now that you know I’m a beaver on the outside and a wolf on the inside, I bet you’re wondering what kind of dog I am. I know I was. I’m a great dane. The test specifically asked what my build and frame were like, so I’m not sure how I ended up as a horse-sized dog, but I can’t argue with the description of myself. Being a great dane means I’m “so humble” that I “don’t notice how much I stand out in a crowded room” (but it does not mean I’m too humble to tell you how wonderfully humble I am, and how I light up a room.) Also, due to my warm demeanor, I’m extremely smart, but still approachable (translated, I do logarithms for fun but still tolerate you and your fascination with Honey Boo Boo.)

Side Note: I barely know how to spell logarithm and sometimes don’t remember how I got to work.

Occasionally I wonder how I landed in my profession. With a Master’s degree in psychology and years of Division 1 college coaching, I’ve somehow found my place in creative advertising. Naturally, I took a quiz to see what my true career should be.

Because I’m a “dedicated team player” who values loyalty above all else, my results revealed that I should be an athlete. Supposedly, I intrinsically know that things work best when everyone works together. They claim I am excited by a challenge and love problem solving (interestingly enough, I actually prefer things to be simple and I like it when there aren’t problems that need to be solved.) It also said I should be a life coach—something I’ve known since the time I realized I was a Volkswagen Bug.

But wait, where should I be an athlete? I had to know, so I took the “What State Do You Belong In” quiz and found out I belong in Michigan—because I’m “smart, friendly and relaxed.” That’s so weird, because Eminem doesn’t seem all that friendly or relaxed. I bet if he took the quiz, he wouldn’t get Michigan. The test raved about how easily I got along with most people and noted that I don’t get involved in others’ business. It’s so funny that buzzfeed doesn’t know about the Facebook stalking or police records I searched the other day.

As soon as I got used to the idea of living in Michigan—which wasn’t that hard, because they have amazing craft beer, unimaginably gorgeous lakes and the Miller’s burger—I figured I should take the test to see exactly what city in Michigan we’d call home. All my plans were quickly derailed when it was brought to my attention that I belonged in Burkina Faso. It’s supposedly a land of honest people, located in the center of Africa. It “faces problems” but the quiz results assured me I’d find peace and beauty “in the simplicity of rural life.”

Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso.

The only way I could settle myself from the shock of belonging in Central Africa—and not near Kid Rock—was to find out which actress would play me in the movie version of my life. Well, this, I can tell you, was a breath of fresh air.

They said that because I’m “charming, bubbly, stunning” and “light up a room” (being told this twice in one day is a real treat), that Sandra Bullock would play me. They figured that since I can go from cracking a joke to buckling down when a task is at hand, I’d need an actress with range. Enter: Sandy.

Annnd, ACTION!

Annnd, ACTION!

Side Note: If you’re wondering what font I am, wonder no more. I’m Times New Roman. I’m “classic, constant, reliable and secretly sexy.” I resent the “secretly” part.

Last but not least, I want to tell you about all the colors of my vibrant, cheerful, dynamic rainbow. I’m seeing greens and oranges and Turks & Caicos blues. Wait. Nope. My aura is brown.

A bit of a letdown on the surface, but let’s take a closer look. It said I am the color of earth and “more grounded and reliable” than any other color (in your face, red!) I’m “concerned with growth and hard work”; I’m a protector of others and often a great builder (they’re right—I build the baddest taco salad this side of I-35.) My secondary color was violet, because I’m a “leader who is idealistic, thoughtful and charismatic.”

conan-bowing

Initially, the brown aura stung a bit—like I was carpet instead of hardwoods, dirt instead of the Mediterranean sea—but then I realized my aura and my color were two different quizzes! My color was … wait for it … blue! The result was blue because I “give love and friendship unconditionally”; I’m loyal and intuitive and enjoy long, thoughtful conversations rich in philosophy and spirituality.

Side Note: I do enjoy long, thoughtful conversations about how Harry Connick, Jr. should join The Voice and complete my perfect singing competition portrait.

Last but not least, I wanted to share with you that “my element” is Earth. It’s supposedly Earth because I’m “strong and stable—a good leader and role model.” This quiz knew I didn’t really like a lot of changes and that I prefer knowing what’s going on so I can prepare. It noted that my adventurous side makes “my animal” a horse or an eagle—but as we’ve already discussed, I’m a beaver and a wolf, so I’m not sure this quiz’s algorithm was cranking on all cylinders.

It said that Earth people dislike people who talk too much. I’ve just realized this is rather lengthy, so I guess I don’t like Earth people. But I do like Sandra Bullock and athletes and Times New Roman, so I’m just as confused about who I am as I was before buzzfeed came into my life.

I think I’ll go take a quiz to see what my best coping skills are. If it says, “Drive around Burkina Faso in a Volvo station wagon with Rihanna until you find some proper moonshine” … I guess that’s what I’ll have to do.

Please join me on Facebook and Twitter!

When I Grow Up

I have a good job at a place I rarely, if ever, dread going. Every weekday morning, before 7am, I make my trek in from our building’s covered parking—happy, upbeat and feeling blessed. I work with some wonderful people, perform my job on a beloved iMac and feel fortunate to have health benefits, a pension and relative stability. We’re allowed to wear jeans any day we like, and our ice machines have pellet ice. I repeat … our ice machines have awesome, Sonic-like, pellet ice. I’ve got it pretty good.

So why, for the love of all that is Holy, can’t I shake the fact that I’d like to be a short-order cook?

The idea makes me swoon—the big, industrial-sized cooktop and griddle that’s become perfectly seasoned through the years; the even heat and its eagerness to cook things at my pace; its willingness to accommodate slower-cooking things off to the side, without being demanding.

Combining this type of cooking with the sheer joy of preparing amazing food for appreciative people is a one-two punch I can get down with.

pmanningthumbsup

I imagine myself at a place similar to this small, greasy spoon we used to frequent up in the Pacific Northwest, where the only seating was around the half-moon bar. The cook was right out in the open, sort of like a bartender, but with his back to us. It was fascinating to watch him cook and coordinate the meals of a couple dozen people.

My establishment would be similar, and I’d have lots of regulars. They’d be flattered at how quickly I’d remember their preferences, and their undying loyalty would soon follow. Henry likes his potatoes well-done. Jane doesn’t like her food touching. Paul prefers me to break his over-easy eggs. And Kenny? Well, Kenny’s a writer and likes his 3-egg omelet folded like an envelope. He’s a little finicky, but he means well and tips well, so—no harm, no foul.

At Westside (the name of my diner), we’d be known for our breakfasts, but people would also come in weekly for burgers and my famous fries and homemade dipping sauces.

I’m an early bird, so I’d open for breakfast at 6am and stay open through lunch—that’s it. Westside would be such a popular place that I’d always have inquisitive, well-intentioned people wondering why on Earth I wasn’t open for dinner … didn’t I know how much more money I could make? But I’d prefer it exactly how it was—busy, people eagerly waiting for an open spot, everyone happy, regulars coming back again and again. And I’d still have a life outside of the diner.

But I think I can do better than this dream, because I have another secret desire.

Farming.

No, not just living on a farm, but actually farming. It appeals to me in nearly every way (I say this while acknowledging I know very little about farming life, but of course, I used to say the same thing about thug life and we all know how that turned out). Here are the few things I know—besides just loving farms and farm houses—that lead me to harbor this now not-so-secret desire. (Oh, and please note, while the diner would be called Westside, the farm would be called Westward. Sshh, just let me dream.)

Drool.  photo credit: shutterstock

Drool.
photo credit: shutterstock

In every sense of the word, I’m a morning person. I’m happy to wake up to a new day; I’m at my best in the morning; I thoroughly relish using early morning hours to accomplish things and I simply find mornings beautiful, while noticing and feeling blessings twice as much in these early hours, before the day gets busy.

I also love the idea of being on a tractor all day. When I’m driving and I see a tractor out in the fields, I get all dreamy and wishy and jealous. I thoroughly enjoy activities and chores where I can just think or pray or make myself laugh with a hilarious stand-up routine in my head (you wouldn’t believe how entertaining I think I am.) I also love listening to music and audiobooks—two things I could do all day while tilling the fields. I was made to drive a tractor—it’s now so clear to me.

Side Note: I really hope “tilling the fields” is legit farm talk, but I have this nagging feeling it’s not.

Let it be me

Let it be me

Also, my favorite chores are the ones where you can see actual progress and change—mowing, edging, dusting, trimming trees. My entire being gets genuine pleasure from cleaning and clearing away. Sometimes when we walk in the early evening, we’ll pass trees that have branches in need of a trim and I can barely keep myself from scheming ways to come back and do a little snip-snip after dark. I know in my heart it would make everyone happier, but I’ve been told that it’s called trespassing.

As I’ve touched on before, I’m not a tried and true dog person (just in that my love for them isn’t so unconditional that I’ll ever want to snuggle after they’ve lapped up toilet water and I’ll never feel as if my life isn’t complete without a dog), BUT, I am an animal person, so tending to chickens and cows (and maybe a donkey and some goats) appeals to me.

Actually, as I sit here and think about it, I bet living on a farm would bring my dog side out; because, while a domesticated, shedding, house dog—who likes licking himself—doesn’t move me, a work dog does. If he’s my work buddy—sign me up and I’ll name him Barley or maybe Dutch. I love the idea of throwing open the truck gate and whistling for him to jump in. He’s not my kitchen buddy, but he’s my field buddy and I love him already.

And I know I usually say my favorite kind of cat is the kind that’s actually an owl, but I think on the farm, I could probably enjoy a couple of outdoor cats. I sure don’t want one slinking around under my bed or sitting in the window judging me, but I wouldn’t mind one that nabs mice and snakes for us.

Some people watch an executive give a presentation—and dream of being her … dream of the corner office, the attention and pressure being on them, the accolades, being the keynote speaker; but, I see a farmer on a tractor and dream of getting up at dawn, wearing flannel, naming my animals, driving a John Deere and eating three squares a day.

I also dream of canning.

photo credit: wikipedia

photo credit: wikipedia

Side Note: My affinity for farm clothes is two-fold. The obvious appeal is that they’re practical and comfortable. But there is also something quite thrilling about hearing, “Well you sure clean up nice!” when I change to go out.

Ideally, life on the farm would include a huge vegetable and herb garden … and living off the land as much as possible. Being able to combine growing our own veggies with comprehensive, monthly Costco trips is the best of both worlds. Sure, we’d never get to pop in Costco for a block of Gouda—because we don’t get into town that often—but when we did go, we could use the flatbed cart to haul our bounty of bulk.

So this brings me to why I can do better than being a short-order cook at Westside … and why it’s a beautiful thing when dreams collide.

In our amazing farm house (it might even be magazine worthy), I’d have a huge, restaurant-quality, gas cooktop and griddle. I’d get to cook for us and for any workers or visitors we had. Cooking AND farming. So. Much. Yes.

If my days could play out something like this:
-Wake up early to start the coffee and feed Nelly, Delilah, Bishop and the gang
-Wield spatulas as I make a big breakfast on the griddle—eggs, potatoes, pancakes, bacon
-Do chores, tend to the garden, fix things
-Make a good lunch
-Do more farm things
-Make an awesome dinner
-Enjoy a beer on the beautiful, expansive porch while visiting and watching the sunset
-Write another chapter of my manuscript
-Go to bed at a decent hour

… then I can’t imagine not getting a “Life Is Good” tattoo on my back, or an “Oh Happy Day” one on the inside of my wrist—or both.

I know, I know—stop wishing and go for it, right? Not now. For the time being, I’ll keep being happy with my pellet ice and steady paycheck. Also, I now have an outdoor Blackstone Griddle I can get my cooking fix on—and we have a new, huge garden bed we’ll get into in the spring.

Look at this crazy goodness. My heart is all aflutter!

Look at this crazy goodness. My heart is all aflutter!

Baby steps. Besides, wielding those spatulas takes a lot of practice. I was making chicken fajitas on the Blackstone this summer and I went to scoop up and turn over a big pile of sliced Serrano peppers and accidentally tossed the whole pile right over my shoulder. Every one of them landed on the patio in one smooth, synchronized move. I think we all know that the diner and the farm deserve better than that.

I’d love for you to join me on Facebook and Twitter … it’s good for your health.

Enlightenment Is Overrated

The world seems to be changing before our very eyes. All the subtle and not-so-subtle shifts got me thinking about some of my long-held beliefs.

I intended to go about all this high-level thinking at my own pace, but my quiet introspection was shockingly interrupted when, on the walking trails, I saw a poodle roll to its back in the grass. And there it was—all his gentleman business—assaulting my baby eyes.

It shook me to my core. I thought all poodles were girls. They should be girls—you know it and I know it. Was I out of the country when boy poodles became a thing? Stunned, I stared without blinking and my heart just went out to him immediately—the cruelty of his perm, the indignity of his pom-pom legs. The duplicity of what I saw had me questioning everything.

Next you’re going tell me snakes can be girls. Please don’t insult my intelligence; I wasn’t born yesterday.

Another long-standing belief I have—that I will stick to until I’m six feet under—is what I call “The Tribe Factor.” When I worry for a child that I’m not directly responsible for (because of poor sleep habits, a dreadful diet and shoddy oral hygiene), I self-soothe by repeating this mantra in my head, “Tribes do okay, tribes do okay, tribes do okay.”

I believe most tribes have it a lot harder than the children I know, but they still manage to survive. So yeah, maybe a kid does watch too much Disney—with their haughty girls and swaggy boys—but there are tribes in Tanzania that spit on their babies and those little ones seem no worse for wear. I don’t want children to be allowed to play video games every waking moment, but if a Brazilian tribe routinely eats the crushed bones of deceased family members, then maybe it’s okay if one of my little loved ones occasionally sneaks outside to disrobe and potty.

Side Note: Conversing with a friend over The Tribe Factor yielded this gem, “Sometimes I worry about a potential problematic pregnancy or being sick and it feels so dire, but then I remember people used to give birth and get ill IN CAVES. Their survival comforts me.”

They seem to be pretty happy, right?

They seem to be pretty happy, right?

I’ve also always felt like goldfish got a bad rap just because their memory span tops out at three seconds. What we should be questioning is trees—I don’t think they’re the brightest crayon in the box. They’re lovely and I hold them close to my heart, but savvy, they are not. They strip naked in winter and bundle up in summer. Hello, beautiful oak tree, it’s 22 degrees, why did you undress for winter? How do you expect to protect yourself from the elements? On the flip-side, why would a silver leaf maple want all those extra layers when it’s 99 degrees? Maybe trees are dyslexic. Oh great, now I’m insensitive for simply asking the question.

But I have some special needs of my own. I can’t taste anything when I have sunglasses on. In fact, they dull all my senses. They hinder my ability to hear well or make good decisions. I recognized my limitations when wearing sunglasses several years ago and now only wear them when absolutely necessary—like when hearing, tasting and thinking aren’t on the docket.

I have another (admittedly morbid) assumption that I’ll hang onto until it fails me. In order to keep tragic things from happening to my loved ones, I preemptively imagine calamities, in an effort to stop them in their tracks. I have this weird theory that if I CONSIDER it, it’s less likely to happen.

I’m sure we all have loved ones who seem to be the most likely candidates for misfortune; but, how often is the player actually the one you least expect? And for me personally, I can’t think of too many things that derail me like being blindsided. So in the interest of self-preservation, I make sure to consider all potentials and not just the most reckless of the group. Now, instead of telling me how abnormal this is, how about telling me how much you appreciate my selfless efforts to keep everyone safe, huh?

Rehearsing disaster saves lives. Sometimes.

Rehearsing disaster saves lives. Sometimes.

Hey, I never said my assumptions were scientifically sound. I don’t even understand non-rhyming poetry, you think I’m going to understand the arc of a tragedy?

Come to think of it, I believe I’ve slighted myself in one particular area. I’ve always been really scared to pass out because I assumed I’d be terrible at it. I was sure I’d be the kind of fainter to go face-first into the asphalt, but then I thought, “Wait. I’m athletic. I’m not clumsy or spastic. I’m selling myself short.”

I now believe I’d nimbly pass out with the grace of a dancer—barely grazing each section of my body until I’m lying on my side with my face resting comfortably on my outstretched arm—dare I say—almost sexy even. After it dawned on me how good I’d be at fainting, I realized what a relief it was to have one less thing to worry about.

Reconciling long-held beliefs is hard work.

One of my favorite things to see is a bird riding on a cow.

lostlunch blog

He has no idea.

You know those white birds that post up on a steer’s back? It brings me unmitigated joy when I happen upon this sight, not only because it’s funny, but because of the community of it all. Two seemingly disparate creatures coexisting without regard to one another’s political affiliation or athletic allegiance—it does a heart good.

But then one day it dawned on me that the likelihood of that simple-minded cow even knowing it has a passenger is next to nil. Even if he is a docile bovine, he’d probably not take too kindly to a freeloader who deceitfully positions himself in his blind spot. I had to face the facts—that wasn’t harmony they were living in—it was a den of deception.

It made me sad and cast a dark cloud over my day, so I rejected that notion and said, “Nah, that cow totally knows. They’re friends splitting rent!” It made me happy to write their story. If you tell me otherwise, I’ll out you for the lying liar you are.

All this new awareness has me re-thinking something else I’ve believed. We built a house on a beautiful golf course lot a couple of years ago. After a few months, it became very clear how I’d die.

Our house sits alongside the fairway of the course’s signature 13th hole. It’s absolutely gorgeous, but approximately 200 yards from the tee box, which means we get more than our fair share of golf balls gifted to us through the ever-popular slice.

Proof of the 900 times I've narrowly escaped death.

Proof of the 900 times I’ve narrowly escaped death.

I became convinced I’d die by a Titleist to the temple (otherwise known as T4). Honestly, it was comforting to finally know how I’d meet my Maker, so I could stop worrying about car accidents and e coli. But then the other day, while floating in the pool—wondering if Kim and Kanye have unintentionally roped themselves into directional names for all the kids—I had an epiphany. I bet a golf ball is actually just going to hit my shin.

Crap.

Why is this bad? Because I’ll endure the worst tibial pain known to humankind—but with zero fanfare. Deep bone bruises don’t kill. They also don’t get you sympathy or time off work—and I’ll still have to worry about the west nile virus. It’ll be such a non-heroic injury.

Someone at work will say, “Hey Beautiful, why you limpin’?” I’ll light up, “Oh, thanks for asking! Get this! I got tagged with a golf ball Saturday—on my shin!” They’ll say, “Oh. Did you know the Xerox color printer is down today?”

Enlightenment is overrated. Some long-held beliefs should be challenged—simply so we’re not all stuck in the dark ages—but others should be clung to, remaining unfettered ’til death do us part.

I’d love for you to join me on Facebook … it’s good for your health.

Dream On

I have ridiculous dreams.

They’re vivid and memorable, but mostly insane. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a very active dream life, recalling details with spectacular clarity.

I know people who don’t remember their dreams and don’t really understand how profoundly certain ones can affect you. They’ll listen to me describe a dream, making “Are you speaking English?” faces and reply, “You have weird dreams.” Guess what? That offers exactly NO comfort to me when I just told you I dreamed my nephew grew a vestigial tail an hour before his prom, leaving his mom scrambling to find a tailor specializing in those types of alterations.

I’ve learned the hard way not to go into great detail about a crazy dream until I first ask if they’re a dreamer. If they say, “No, I never remember my dreams” I say, “So, do you have any good kale recipes?” If they say, “Oh yeah, my dreams are insane” then I know I’m safely in the company of a like-minded dreamer who can appreciate hearing how I met the inventor of Pretzel Crisps at a pool party, where the pool had no water, but instead had Bill Clinton skate boarding through the deep end, wearing nothing but headphones and a toe ring.

I know people who want to learn how to master lucid dreaming for the sole purpose of hooking up with celebrities as they catch some zzz’s. But it was always more important to me to figure out how to wake myself up from bad dreams. I was forever falling off roller coasters, being chased by extremely bad guys and actually dying in a variety of ways. I’m not sure how, but finally I began to recognize a terrible dream when it was happening, and wake myself up. Not every time—I still ran into lots of knife-wielding hoodlums with ill-intent—but it got better.

To the experts who say we dream in black and white and die in real life if we die in a dream, I say NAY. I’ve been shot several times, seen the red blood and faded clear to my death … and here I am. Holla!

One particular dream I’ve never forgotten: I hailed a cab, he pulled over, I slid in. As soon as I did, the guy who was already in the backseat pulled out a silencer, put it to my temple and shot. It made this soft pphhffww sound. I felt no pain, but thought, “Uh-oh” as my head fell softly to the window. I fully knew I was a goner … but not before I prayed to God to bring comfort and peace to my loved ones.

For those of you feeling a little down right about now, you need to know something. I am blessed with the ability to dunk in my dreams. And I dunk HARD. It brings the crowd to its feet in unified jubilation to see this bad ass 5’6″ chick snagging alley oops out of thin air and throwing them down like I’m the spawn of Lebron (and with that unintentional rhyme, a spawn of Jay-Z, too—man this life is good).

I’ve also flown in my dreams. I’m one of the more fortunate ones who only have to flap a few times per mile, enabling me to enjoy the journey rather than feel like I’ve been to an all-day crossfit class. I rock a few big sweeping flaps and off I soar, high above the ground, wind in my birdlike face (my eyes are the same, but I have a beak—fortunately it’s a pretty spring salmon color, making me more special than a finch or sparrow).

I distinctly remember the first time I flew, my predominant thought was, “Oh my gosh, I’ll never pay for another flight in my life!” But on the flip side, if I never flew commercial again, I’d never have the joy hilarious horror of a gloved security guard frantically rubbing me down until he found the dangerous offender—my Fitbit pedometer—clipped to my bra.

So yeah, I get murdered sometimes, but I also get airborne a lot.

The market is flooded with studies, articles and websites dedicated to dream interpretation. But my dreams are often less “meaningful” and more just like my brain wanting to do “Mad Libs” based on my recent thoughts and experiences.

madlibs

Let me explain.

In a recent dream, I walked down a boardwalk.
I walked on a beautiful boardwalk on our latest vacation.

I saw my mom squatting in a cove of sand.
My mom was the last person I text before I fell asleep that night … and I, myself, was squatting by a cove of sand we saw while on vacation, watching a little crab moving around.

She pulled a baby seal out and his face was a real baby’s face.
I was watching and loving the baby seals around the coves on this trip … and actually just dream about babies a lot. (although usually I’m in the hospital for what I believe to be terminal stomach cancer, only to find out I’m actually pregnant, dilated to a 10 and confused as to how babies are made.)

She handed him to me and I cradled him but realized when she scooped him up, he got sand caked in his little throat, causing him to become still and start to die.
Recently, my mom had asked me if I’d heard about all the baby seals shoring up dead or malnourished in California and I’d also read a tweet from Anderson Cooper about the same phenomenon before I went to sleep.

The people walking next to me started telling me he was mine now and I needed to care for him and love him back to life.
I’d just had dinner with a friend who was talking about their journey with IVF, embryo transfer and embryo donation/adoption … and I told her I would never have a problem accepting and loving a baby I hadn’t created myself.

I started cradling and snuggling the baby seal boy—kissing his smooth head and giving him all the warmth and love I could transfer to his little body.
The day before, I’d come across a picture of my mom cuddling up her grandbaby who was wrapped like a burrito in one of those little towel robes.

He started coming back to life and stretching in my arms. He then opened his eyes, grinned and reached his little pointer finger up to touch my cheek but accidentally poked my eye.
Kellie Rasberry, from Kidd Kraddick in the Morning, recently told the story of their puppy trying to show her love and inadvertently scratching her eye.

Then I came to a gate at the pier and they wouldn’t let me by until I presented my credentials.
We’d been at the Indian Wells tennis tournament on vacation and I tried to get into a certain part of the stadium to take a picture and the guard asked for my credentials.

Someone said they’d take the baby from me while I pilfered through my bag, but they actually took him and put him back in the water where they thought he belonged.
A similar thought that crossed my mind as I heard about embryo adoption.

I finally got to the cove and spotted him happily swimming with colorful koi.
A brewery we visited on vacation had a bunch of koi in their fountain.

See? Mental, subconscious, dreamland Mad Libs. My mind piecing together a story from random activities and thoughts of the day.

Side Note: This doesn’t explain why my next dream consisted of me on a big yacht, watching my sister jet ski in our wake—doing tricks and flips and eventually sticking a perfect landing on the deck of the ship—as we all cheered uproariously, helped her out of her wetsuit and fed her fresh mango.

And of course I still have these typical anxiety dreams:

  • Realizing I’m at the end of semester and I have never been back to my math class since the first day.
  • Trying to text someone something important and my phone is either dead or changing each letter I type to an unwanted emoji.
  • Being back on my college basketball team—but every time I receive a pass and turn to shoot, the ball turns into a throw pillow or a book and I can’t set my hands right or get the proper rotation.
  • Not being able to find what I’m looking for—a loved one, a place, my phone, my camera, my clothes or my high school locker.

Hmm, reading through this has made me realize a couple of (now) apparent things.
1. I need to spend more time figuring out how to hook up with celebrities in my dreams.
2. I need a baby seal boy embryo … preferably from Stephen Curry and Alicia Keys.

dreambaby

I’d love for you to join me on Facebook … it’s good for your health.

Paws Off

Before I say something that could incur the wrath of many, let me first say that without question, I LOVE animals. Especially wildlife. I love to take my Nikon and stake out the owls and bobcats behind my house for hours on end. But, I’m not a dog person. WAIT! Don’t leave! I’m not a cat person either. PLEASE STAY! I like them, I just don’t want one. I don’t want a pet.

That doesn’t mean I don’t “get it”—I do! I love pink puppy bellies nearly as much as I love baby cankles. I also plan on donating large sums of my future lottery winnings to organizations that train service dogs and other rehabilitation programs that utilize animals.

Years ago I would’ve said with arrogance confidence, “I’ll never have a dog.” I don’t make blanket statements like that anymore if there is any way around it. As soon as I get all cocky with the I-will-never attitude, God swivels His head around in a “Did you really just say that?” way. Then He shakes His majestic head side to side as He chuckles—and promptly reminds me who’s driving.

I’m not making this up—it has become a game with us. I know He doesn’t like me popping off with what I will and won’t do (I bet it’s the way I move my neck when I’m being adamant). But I’m not always able to stop myself, so I leave Him no other choice but to deliver the news to me that oh yes, I will indeed do this thing I’ve put my ridiculous foot down about. I have many examples of this happening, but the one most burned into my memory is when I said I’d never work retail and several months later I wore a badge and was carrying around a walkie talkie at Barnes & Noble, trying to track down A Year of Kama Sutra for a band of gypsies.

So let me tread lightly here in case He’s reading. I … hope to … never have a dog. Wait, that seems too wimpy, so I’ll just ask.

Dear Sweet Loving God, please don’t bring a precious puppy to my doorstep. Especially a too-cute-for-words baby bloodhound. I know I’ll become obsessed and grotesque about it the way the people I love have. I promise to be nice to others’ pets if You promise me I won’t have to take one in. I’ll even hide my gag reflex when I see his red rocket making an appearance. I’ll pretend his hair flying through the kitchen as we whip up a casserole is no problem at all. I’ll try my hardest to not feel anger when I hear him slurping from the toilet. Actually, I can’t keep that promise—and You knew this before I said it. Please give the puppy to the family who won’t hold their nose on the pet aisle at Kroger and who doesn’t mind all the licking and slurping sounds that accompany such creatures. Please forgive me for not wanting to house one of Your creations—I really do find some of them quite adorable, despite my desire to love them from afar. And please also bless Romo with a better offensive line. Amen.

puppy2

It’s such a bizarre position to be so sure in my head that I don’t want something but also “get it” and understand what it does to people and what it would do to me. I would not be a middle of the road dog-owner. I would be gross. I’d call friends and say things like, “Decker knows he’s getting shots today—that’s why he’s not eating.” I’d start pinning dog quotes on Pinterest and Instagramming pics of him frolicking, taking extra steps to capture his ears mid-flap. I’d tweet, “Glad someone slept good!” and show him on my pillow, in my bed, possibly under my covers with my t-shirt on. I can’t be sure I wouldn’t get vanity plates that said LVMYPUP or MANSBFF.

It’s not even a secret why I’m paralyzed with this seemingly absurd fear. It’s my parents’ fault. They’ve gone from being like me (normal) to full-on, all-out, no-holes-barred dog lovers—and not of their own volition. They were carrying on, minding their own business and enjoying retirement when BAM, they spotted an abandoned puppy on the side of the road. I’m talking puppy-puppy, sweet little bare belly and all. Of course they knew they had to feed him, but that was several years ago and now they say he’s my brother.

My mom purposefully (when it’s just she and my dad) cooks extra food so Scout can have some and accidentally (when we’re there) overestimates how much steak we’ll need. This dog has it made. He’s so much the man that he doesn’t even have to wear a leash. He passes the other dogs on their walks like, “Sup Bro—why you all chained up ‘n shit?” (sorry, I just really feel like he has a dirty mouth when he’s running the streets). He gets longer massages than the ones I pay good money for and isn’t required to tip. He’s a great dog; but why wouldn’t he be? He’s an 80lb canine who eats filet mignon and lives a leash-free life with a woman who grills his food and a man who lets him sit in his lap.

Fears = substantiated.

I guess my disinterest goes a little beyond just not wanting to own a dog. There are other things with peoples’ pets that get me cranky. My brother’s dog has a nose like a missile and its intended target is every butt in the room. None of us escape at least one airborne moment per visit. There is nothing quite like innocently kneading dough with your niece, when out of the blue, the coonhound lifts you a few inches off the ground in an unbridled crack attack. That’s not fun to me. (Full disclosure—it’s beyond fun to witness from afar.)

Hey Pet Owner, you know how stepping on shards of glass hurts real bad? Your dog’s nails aren’t much different and they’re excruciating down my shins and forearms—go figure. Maybe you could perfect “Down, Rocky!” with him before you invite me over for a shrimp boil.

And in the same way I don’t want to walk in on you sitting on the toilet playing Beat Sneak Bandit on your iPhone, pants at your ankles—I also don’t want to happen upon your dog in that abominable hunched-up potty stance with that shameful look in his eyes when we make make eye contact. Sorry, I know he has to “go potty” but once the venting starts, I can’t stop.

It’s not just dogs. I know cats are supposed to be smart, aloof and low maintenance but guess what—apparently I don’t know how to pet them—so they don’t like me. I mean, you’re kidding me right? I rub your fur in an unpreferred direction and you don’t like me? Hot news flash, Felix, I don’t like you either. Your kitty litter stinks and your hungry meows frighten me. Don’t get me started on your mating cries. Do you think a dude cat is going to wanna get with you when you sound like that? Nobody wants a screechy beggar. Pull yourself together or you’ll never have kitties.

Ok, now I’ve said too much. I’ve worked myself up into a frenzy and need some air. If there is a doe-eyed puppy or a cat in heat on my porch, I’ll have no one to blame but myself.

I’d love for you to join me on Facebook … it’s good for your health.