She Made Me Do It

I’m a relatively private person, but have decided it’s time to share some text exchanges between me and a certain someone I’ve known—and disliked—for years.

My disdain for her centers around the unequivocal thoughtlessness at play—but her controlling, bullying ways are equally problematic.

She’s a phenomenal fun-ruiner, and a perpetually unwanted third wheel. She loves weekends and traveling—and bullishly inserts herself where, and when, she’s least wanted … and even knows she’s not wanted.

Doesn’t stop her. Doesn’t deter her one iota.

She’s hateful, catty and short-fused—demanding we get fast food, making me cry over an All-State commercial, planting seeds of doubt in my mind, pressing me to think super-mean (not-fit-for-repeating) things about people I encounter throughout the day.

Her name is Flo.

Some call her Aunt Flo. Some call her Cousin Red. Gross. She’s just Flo to me—or sometimes #$%&*@! Flo.

It’s time I put her reprehensible conduct on blast.

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She even ADMITS to premeditated timing. Can you imagine being so ill-thought of and still coming around again and again and again?

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Gee, thanks for the heads-up. Some months I feel her all around me—know she’s made her displeasing descent—but have no proof, because she’s yet to show her dumb, stupid face.

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Great. Thanks. I love running into door facings, dropping things, and feeling generally swimmy in the head. You’re a real treat, Flo.

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So she’s Flo Angelou now? Ugh. Silver lining? She’s actually here, which means the clock has started and she’ll be gone soon. Ish.

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For reasons unknown, this heifer LOVES McDonalds. Is it the grease? The salt? I’ve basically accepted that when she’s here, I’ll be in a McDonald’s drive-thru at some point—hating myself and loving life, all at once.

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Oh my gosh—they look so sad! They just sit there kinda humped over and dejected-looking, usually with their back to the camera. Why? Why are they so sad? Why have they turned away? WWHHHYYYY????!

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As if I needed any extra help being annoyed by people and their noises. She will NOT let me ignore anything. I try to buckle down and forge ahead, and she’s just there, nudging me, poking me, “Listen. I know you hear him chewing. I know you do. It will make you feel better if you get annoyed. There you go—feel that undiluted agitation? That’a girl.”

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Uncommon sleepiness, abnormal hunger and astronomical agitation. Every month. Of every year. For decades. What’s not to love?

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Grrrrr. Where did you go?? You were gone! ANSWER ME!

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Women + Ibuprofen = BFFs 4ever.

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Ohhh, Bubba and I are mad-mad-mad. How you gon’ roll up in here and wreak havoc and then stay extra days when I have fun plans?

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Cut to me with orange fingers, crumbs down my shirt and an empty bag of Takis—looking lost in a haze of regret.

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The name-calling is especially pleasant; but at least she’s gone and I can get back to a normal routine—and normal behavior—for 28 days.

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No problem, Florence. Come on back. Disrupt everything I do, boss me around and call me names. Nothing would please me more than getting another day with your rotten face.

Several years ago, one of my guy-friends said it was weird to him that girls faced her every single month, of every year—but hadn’t figured out how to deal with her. As in surely at some point, we just go, “Oh, hey, ‘sup old friend—make yourself at home!”

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This was my response.

Sorry. Flo made me do it.

Let’s link up on Facebook and Twitter!

 

I Talk To Fruit

I give them one last heartfelt look before delivering the news.

“Ok guys, it’s time to say good-bye. You’ve been wonderful beyond belief. You’ve allowed me to see things I wouldn’t have otherwise seen—you’ve shown me the world. This good-bye isn’t because you’ve fallen short—on the contrary—you’ve been a vision of beauty. I’m saying good-bye because my eye doctor reminded me that you’re 2-week disposables and you’ve worn out your welcome.”

I give my Acuvue’s one last squeeze and say a little prayer of thanks for their service. I send them on their way with a measure of sadness. I don’t toss my contacts in the trash—I flush them. It seems cruel, after all they’ve done, to let them dry to a crisp in the garbage with half-eaten lasagna and slimy banana peels.

Yes, I admit it, I sometimes consider the feelings of inanimate objects.

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Cue the image of my mom scrambling to get to her phone, “Anna? Sweetie, talk to me. I know I’m just a HUMAN, but talk to me and tell me where I went wrong and how I can help you.”

It’s ok. These feelings don’t rule my day; they aren’t cause for alarm. I don’t believe things are reincarnated ancestors or anything. Feeling bad about throwing away the contacts that helped me watch my 100th episode of Love It Or List It is one thing, but thinking the dryer sheets are Great Grandma Cluck is quite another.

Maybe it gets worse. I’ll let you be the judge.

I don’t like to let my car get too dirty because I know she likes to be pretty—and when she’s low on gas, I feel like she’s hungry.

Sometimes at the grocery store, when I’m picking out tomatoes or limes, I’ll grab one and then decide I like a different one better. When I place the original one back, I’m wrought with guilt. He went from landing the lead role, to getting sent back to the citrus pyramid without explanation. (Put yourself in his position and think back to picking teams in junior high. Yes it IS the same!)

I wonder if he sees me pick his friend (now enemy) and loses his will to live? I bet he feels rotten. I can only hope he doesn’t give up. If he can hold his head up another day or so, he’ll get picked—he just needs a little more time to ripen and mature.

Please stop worrying about my sanity. I do feel bad about lime-gate but I’m not tilted enough to take the insufficient one anyway. It would only be a problem if my days were dictated by this oddity. Right?

I mostly feel this way about inanimate objects when it comes to them feeling unwanted, discarded or over-looked.

When I’m editing my writing and find two words accidentally repeated, and I delete one, I always delete the second one because the first one was there first. It would be heartless to handle it any other way.

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I’m also mindful that, unless we have company, we tend to use the top 2-4 plates and bowls in our cabinet—relegating the very capable bottom half of the stack to the bench—game after game. That disservice weighs on me.

I don’t feel bad enough to secretly switch the order—but I do admit I’m happy when we have people over and the bottom plates get some playing time. In my head I’m cheering, “Go get’em Little Buddy—this is your time to shine!” I also secretly hope they get re-stacked in a fair way once they’re out of the shower dishwasher.

On another note, I’m not ashamed to confess that on occasion, I’ll quickly and mindlessly apologize to something I run into or accidentally hit. It’s not like I think I hurt it, I just know what a shock it is to get sucker punched and the “Sorry!” is out before I’ve thought it through.

Side Note: I always felt bad for Ken and Barbie dolls when “someone” would put them in compromising positions. For one, they were naked. But also, their movements were stiff, painting an unflattering picture of their lovemaking ability.

As crazy as it all sounds to people who are cold and unfeeling, it’s not that uncommon to feel the way I do. Amber, from the blog The Usual Bliss said, in response to my about me page (where I first admitted sometimes thinking things have feelings), “I am currently talking to all of the pumpkins in my house very sweetly, easing them into the moment when they get replaced by Christmas stuff.”

I laughed until my side hurt.

Another blogger, J-Bo supported me in my comments section by offering, “I feel bad for money that gets lost in my apartment because I have delayed it from going out and having more adventures.”

Now that’s a woman living right.

And yet another comment, this time from the blogger Nadine Millar, “My hubby admitted that for years as a child he would hug the hot water bottle in bed long after it had gone cold, since he felt bad that after giving him all its heat he would simply discard it.”

Nadine’s husband’s hot water bottle is my pair of Oasys contacts—it just feels wrong to toss what once was a lifeline, just because it’s no longer of use.

Side note: I do not feel this way about gum. It comes into this world knowing it’s got the lifespan of a tweet. #onehotminuteyall

I’ve been known to talk to my plants, flowers and garden vegetables. No, I don’t carry on long conversations—actually, I don’t ask them any tough questions (I learned that the hard way). I simply let them know I’m glad they’re here and I encourage them to keep up the good work. I walk around like the host of a dinner party, greeting them all individually.

“Hey Buddy! You’re sure lookin’ good! Keep it up! Oh hey Little Guy! When did you get so fantastic?”

Crazy, maybe, but it feels right to me. I also believe it works. Our sago palms didn’t do well during the winter and when we uncovered them this spring, they were brown and looking quite dead. One of them clocked in and got to work right away—came back healthy and strong—all on her own.

The other one had the little soft shoots in the middle wanting to flourish, but not getting over the hump. The baby shoots just seemed paralyzed. I went over one day and touched them lightly and gave them a few encouraging, welcoming words (I won’t go into exactly what I said here because it’s between the palm and me), but the NEXT DAY they’d sprouted up a wee bit higher.

I touched them again and bragged on their growth and the next day—they’d made even more progress. This routine went on for a week and below is the Little Chica today, not two weeks later.

I am woman, hear me roar

I am woman, hear me roar

I was telling my friend how I feel terrible when it’s time to throw flowers away. I said I always hold them for a few last minutes and give them one final big sniff—and even if the smell is super rank—I pretend it’s nothing but an utter delight.

She said, “I know. I’m the same way with food. When I’m chopping up veggies or fruit and one piece falls on the floor, I feel bad that he can’t stay and be cooked with his friends—that he’s abruptly separated from them without ever knowing the joy of being a recipe.”

“I know,” I replied, “I always say, ‘Sorry Buddy’ and wash him off before tossing him in the disposal. Sending him away clean is the least I can do.”

I’m not always that kind though. Like the other day, I looked down at my Fitbit pedometer and it was dead. I was super disappointed because I’d been really active that day—work, golf, etc. I said, “No! Grr. Piece of crap.”

Then immediately I thought, “You’re the one that forgot to charge it—you’re the piece of crap. Jerk.” So I nuzzled my Fitbit in the crook of neck, said I was sorry and we hugged it out.

I admit there are levels of coo-coo and what you may see as crazy, others may wave off as perfectly normal.

So … I’ll leave you with this gem. I know a lady who said when there is a pan of rice crispy treats, she feels like she needs to eat them all so they can be back together in her belly. She said she couldn’t have their sudden separation on her conscience.

Her logic is solid—I can’t deny that. But if I ever get in that deep, Moma, please scramble for your phone and call me.

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

Against All Odds

I have an irrational fear of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I don’t think that, in and of itself, is irrational. It’s probably common to fear being wrongfully accused of a crime or the star of a tragic accident.

What makes my fear irrational is how specific it is:

I’m afraid a casting director will approach me about being the leading lady in an erectile dysfunction commercial.

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I’m guessing none of the women who auditioned before me had the right look. No, I’m not talking about their physical appearance. I’m saying, maybe none of them could pull off the “challenge accepted” look the woman gives back to her man once he realizes all systems are go.

You’ve seen the commercials—you know the look. They’re cooking together, he looks at her with such hope and she dips her head coyly, then looks up with: I’ve-Been-Such-A-Sweet-And-Patient-Partner-And-The-Payoff-Is-Finally-Here-And-Let’s-Not-Worry-That-The-Pasta-Has-Already-Come-To-A-Boil-It’s-A-Metaphor-For-Our-Love-And-I-Bet-It’ll-Turn-Itself-Off-Take-Me-Now.

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Maybe the talent scout is spying on me from the cheese aisle—impressed by my discerning facial expressions as I select cucumbers for my latest spicy pickle recipe.

What if the offer is really good money? What would I do? Me, in a Levitra commercial? I fear this could happen on any given day. My list of West Elm must-haves is getting rather lengthy, so I’m pretty sure I’d accept the role.

But then my fear becomes—what if I’m really bad on the day we shoot and I hear, “Levitra commercial! Scene where she accepts the challenge! Take 92!”

The director (A-list, I’m sure) will bark, “NO! No, no, no, no! You look disgusted by his silent request! You’re supposed to be enthused about midday love. Get it together!”

I’ll be in over my head and want out, but I’ve already mentally spent my earnings so I’ll need to plow through.

And now the fears are multiplying because what if I finally nail my facial expressions and my lines and they ask me to star in hemorrhoid and gout ads? What if I’m offered the lead in a Shake Weight infomercial? How can I turn down all this money? That’s right, I can’t.

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But if I accept all these roles, somewhere down the line, I’ll become the face of all-things-no-one-talks-about. I’ll be recognized everywhere I go, yet no one will ever want a picture or autograph. No one will tweet, “Totally eating dinner at the same place as @levitra_preparationH_girl! #lifeisgood #winning #rightplacerighttime”

I’ll be famous, but never on Ellen. A household face, but never host the Grammys. Men who take ED meds will give me suggestive looks while I’m pumping gas or getting a pickle at the movies. I’ll have a huge mansion but when someone new moves into the neighborhood, the neighbors will tell them, “Oh, don’t be too impressed with that—she got her money in less than reputable ways.” They’ll think I deal drugs and never let me coo at their babies or DJ their pool parties.

One day I’ll get the chance to explain how I earned my money, but it won’t matter. The women won’t want me around their husbands and the husbands will be grossed out by my hemorrhoids and gout. I can’t win. I’ll start trying to get work in JCPenney and Kellogg’s commercials. They always look beautiful and peaceful in those.

I’ll go to an audition and hear the director say to the producer, “That Shake Weight has made her arms look great, but do we really want the hemorrhoid girl selling fiber bars?”

I know it’s not normal to fear things that have such a slim chance of happening. But from a very young age, I had a fear that something rare would happen to me—something that universally prompted the response, “NO WAY! What are the chances?!”

For years, when I was young, I lived with the fear that I would be the next Virgin Mary. I was SURE I was going to become pregnant without doing anything that would cause such a condition—and no one would believe me. I imagined myself pleading with my parents to believe me and them saying, “Oh really. So God picked YOU out of 4 billion people?” And I’d say, “No, not 4 billion, you can’t count guys—but yeah, I guess He did pick me out of a lot. Do you really think I could make this up?”

My mom would say, “Yeah, we do. You’ve made up plenty. You swore to us the word “turd” was on your spelling list.” I would say, “The suspect word was “queer” and I just got confused. They both seemed out of bounds for 4th grade.”

In essence, I don’t really fear things like spiders or flying or closed spaces—I fear things that seem unlikely, uncommon and implausible. Because hundreds of thousands of times in this life, people have witnessed or experienced something they, “Never dreamed in a million years would happen.”

Those are the things I fear.

But on the flipside, it’s also what makes me believe I’ll probably win the lottery one day. I’m genuinely surprised every single time my numbers don’t match. Somehow, someway—in my life—something will happen to me that is extremely rare. I just know it. And I hope it’s more lottery and less Levitra.

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

The Disappearance of Discretion

I value discretion.

But it seems as if this era of over-sharing and perpetual TMI has caused those around me to lose their privacy compass. I’m not paid to be the Decorum Police—just happily volunteering my time as a public service.

It all started several years ago when I worked in an “open cube” environment, which meant our work cubicles were no more than a low border around our desk and work area. You could see the entire floor while seated in your chair. This afforded us no privacy whatsoever.

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Because of the floor plan, the cutting edge thinkers of the department designated an open desk at the end of our row as a place where we could “make personal phone calls.” Since it was an exact replica of our occupied desks, it offered precisely the same lack of privacy. I never said, “I need to call and dispute this ‘shake weight’ charge on my debit card, but it’s a private matter, so I better go use the phone 6 steps away.”

Most of us didn’t use it—as we understood that its intended purpose was illogical. However, one co-worker (we’ll call her Jules) took it all at face value and proceeded to call her veterinarian about one of her cats.

I missed the first part of the conversation but gained full consciousness when I heard, “Yes, I believe it’s an abscessed anal sac.”

We were all looking quickly back and forth at one another with shocked, frightened eyes. Unfortunately, the person on the other end of the phone didn’t hear her, because she let it fly again, “Yes Sir, an abscessed anal sac.”

And now a beautiful third time, as she decided to go for broke, “ABSCESSED! ANAL! SAC!”

At this point we were all doubled over, silent heave-laughing ourselves into a solid ab workout. We were losing it. As soon as Jules hung up, we all corrected our posture and feigned concentration on our work. She was a crazy coo-coo bird, but very sweet and none of us wanted to hurt her feelings—so we covered ourselves pretty well.

And that is part of the problem. With all the other moments and experiences with Jules, this is really all that stands out in my mind when I hear her name. No, not the memory of her yelling it, but the actual visual of a cat’s abscessed anal sac. And guess what? I don’t know what that looks like, so this horrific visual, right or wrong, haunts me to this day. I probably have the sac part all wrong—but either way, it is not a sight to behold.

So here is the lesson. Medical issues typically do not have favorable names. If you feel yourself about to say something involving the words abscessed, fissure, polyp, boil or puss—and your audience is not someone with which you share an address or a mother—you back that truck up.

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Additionally, if you need to make a phone call at work (yes, even to your doctor) and any of the aforementioned words might see the light of day, put those two legs to use and walk away from earshot of any and all co-workers. This is non-negotiable. I don’t care if you share a wall with someone who seems to love discussing digestive regularity with you, go make the phone call in private. I can assure you that someone who is seemingly okay with excrement talk would draw the line at rectal fissures.

While we’re talking about what is and isn’t permissible at the office (and in public), let me tell y’all what—in my ideal world—a work restroom would be for. Ridding yourself of LIQUID, washing your hands and giving yourself a quick once-over in the mirror. The flossing, brushing, plucking and various other stuff would ideally be addressed in your home bathroom.

It might sound critical, but I just cringe when I walk in the work restroom and see someone leaning over the sink, brushing her teeth. To do something hygienic in such an unhygienic public restroom seems counterproductive. Dentists themselves recommend brushing twice daily, and I can think of two awesome times and places for that—in the morning AT YOUR HOUSE and at night AT YOUR HOUSE.

Worthy side note: My friend had an employee who used nail clippers in his cube … wait for it … on his toenails. That is a technical foul of the highest order. (notice I said “had” an employee)

This may shock some of you chronic over-sharers, but sometimes even talking about your cold or sinuses treads into TMI territory. A good rule of thumb: telling someone you have a cold or sinus pressure is typically enough to paint us a proper picture. I’ll have a good grasp of your snot situation without you actually quantifying it for me in measurable amounts.

The truth is, we’re already shoved together at work with people we’d probably not spend time with, if given a choice. We’re exposed to each others’ habits, sneezes and snacking. We hear about relationship issues, family feuds and financial woes. Do we really have to also hear about Carol’s bowel movements?

“You guys! Did you hear?! The African Roobio tea worked! Carol moved her bowels!”

You’re never going to hear me lamenting not being in-the-know on that nugget of information. “What?! Carol moved her bowels? When? Where? Why didn’t she tell me? Why’d I have to find out with the rest of the department? Carol SUCKS!”

Ah, the second-hand deliverer of TMI.

“Do you guys have any idea what Delores has been through with potty-training her new puppy? He has literally gone #1 and #2 in every room of the house. She’s at her wits end, you guys. They may have to rip out all their carpet. And this is on top of the issues she’s always had with Whiskers having accidents in the kitchen.”

Me: “Wait. You mean the Delores who who brings all the dishes to our potlucks?”

The second-hand deliverer of TMI—who also wants to be a hero:

“You guys, start sending good vibes now—Danny is giving a semen sample as we speak. He and Lauren think their infertility issues might be his low sperm count.”

Me: “I’m sorry, what? Are you sure Danny really wants us thinking of him at this moment and do you really believe he wants information about his swimmers making its way across our department?”

Look, all I’m asking for is a little discretion. We’re all human beings with issues and things that must be dealt with and tended to. Without a doubt, some things are unavoidable—no two ways about it. My problem with the disappearance of discretion is that 90% of the time it’s just laziness. Scoring a productive nose-blow at your table in a restaurant is lazy. Yelling at your ex over the phone at work is lazy.

Yes, please use Instagram and Facebook to share your life with us, but please don’t feel like you have to share your credit score, your post-colonoscopy side effects or anything involving anal sacs—abscessed or not.

Please join me on Facebook and Twitter!