I thought the coconut curry chicken soup I made from scratch and some of my imagination last night was the best thing in the world, but then I sat down and watched the latest Key and Peele only to be reminded that no one in the world is doing anything better than those guys are doing sketch comedy right now. It really put me in my place.
Me: Save big money at Menards.
Me: You know about Menards? It’s a little bit further south than you’re used to going but, if you keep heading south, you’ll get there. You’ll get to Menards.
Dan: Uh huh.
Me: There’s a fork…you know that fork right there in the road? That’s where you’ll find Menards. In fact, one part of Menards is on one side of the fork and the other side of Menards is on the other side.
Dan: It straddles it?
After a few seconds.
Me: A lot of handy stuff at Menards. But…I like getting my handy stuff at Menards. How long do you think I can keep this going?
Dan: You’ve already exceeded my expectations.
Ha! You jackass. This post is not about what you think it’s about.
Whenever I have had a stressful day, a semi-stressful day, a day that maybe had one or two things in it that I did not want to do but was otherwise okay, a boring lunch, or I sneezed at some point and I’m scared I’m getting a cold, I have PMS, or I have fake PMS so I can get out of doing shit- I like to do, as an old southern granny might say, “Have a sit in the tub.”
I first started having these regular bath fantasies when I applied to live in an apartment with a clawfoot tub. (Bitches and gays who love antiques, I knoowwwwwwww!) Believe you me, it was the very first thing I sanitized and cleaned when I got the apartment. (Germaphobes and those with OCD, I know.)
I sometimes start daydreaming about a bubble bath around 10:00 am just before I start thinking about second breakfast. By noon I’ve chosen which bubble bath I might get on my way home. It’ll be something natural, fruity-smelling, and luxurious that will make me feel like an elegant lady. I’ll choose a candle , one with a nice, calming scent for, I don’t know, niceness? I’ll have a fresh bottle of wine opened and I’ll lie there for an hour and read a book in order to escape the day’s frustration. When I am done, I will drape myself in a silken robe and head out onto the veranda where I prop onto my fainting couch while servants bring me some dainty dessert that is good, but not really good because it contains black currant or something that makes it taste kind of funny, but I eat it anyway. Type thing.
Reality starts to set in when I stop at Walgreens to buy the key ingredient. I don’t care how much it is or how natural it’s supposed to be, or that the word “luxuriate” is typed on the label, this is not the vendor I had in mind when I thought about purchasing bubble bath. Also, I’m at the stupid Walgreens that doesn’t sell wine and I am not about to drive anyplace else in this traffic, damn y’all.
Upon arriving home, I immediately throw myself onto the floor and throw a small tantrum before climbing into the chair next to my boyfriend and cat where I pass out, and snore. When I awake though, it’s bath time! I acquire all the other junk I tell myself I need- minus the candle because I’m too lazy. I set up the tub tray I bought almost as soon as I moved into this place. I put my book on there, I don’t have any wine. I bring my phone because it’s 2013 and I’m an asshole. And then I don’t touch the book. Instead I check things like Twitter and Facebook on my phone multiple times, read a work email, envision myself dropping the phone into the water, then carefully put it back on the tub tray because I’m scared.
So then I just sit there. I listen to Dan making soup in the kitchen and think, “This is cool still. I can still pull off this queen for a day feeling I want to achieve.” Then I decide to exit the tub and gracefully dump baby powder all over everything.
I get powdery handprints all over my clean pajamas but wear them anyway. I drape myself with my Cookie Monster robe like a pretty, pretty princess.
I waltz out of the bathroom, having just cleaned myself and the mess I’ve made, my baggy pjs covered with powder and mascara still smudged under my eyes. I strike a pose and shout,
“ALRIGHT! I am done being a queen!”
And then my boyfriend comes around the corner, saying, “Well, I’m not,” and proceeds to the now vacant room that appears as if Scarface just had a cocaine field day up in it and slams the door.
Sometimes reality is very okay.
As I approached the counter in a zombie-like state after sifting through skein after worsted weight skein of yarn, I was poised to answer the standard “Did you find everything you were looking for today?” question without even thinking.
“I did,” I said, as I reached for my debit card.
“Oh, I did not mean to say that!”
She was laughing hysterically. I smiled but I didn’t have a clue what was going on.
“That’s okay,” I said, assuming it was the appropriate response.
“Did you find all the cute guys you were looking for today. I swear. I did not mean to say that!”
“Oh. Well, I didn’t find any cute guys.”
And then somehow, and I’m fairly certain I didn’t black out, we got to the following almost immediately. Still trying to control her shaking voice through laughter she said,
“We had this guy at my school and we called him ‘Baby Animal.’”
I think I now realize that the girl must have been referring to my wallet which has Animal on it, but at the time I think my face must have been doing something like this:
“Ha,” I laughed awkwardly.
“That is so mean that we did that. We call him Baby Animal because he so small!!”
“I mean, that’s okay.” What was I saying? This is totally not okay.
“I don’t even know his name! Are you a teacher?”
“I ask my husband his name and he said, ‘It’s Baby Animal!’ and I said it’s not!”
And she was still laughing uncontrollably. And I didn’t know what else to do, so I started laughing.
“That’s mean, right? I saw him and he had a woman hanging on either side of him. He was prob’ly about four eleven.”
“Hey, some people like that.”
And then I walked away, hopefully leaving her to think that I am dating a little person.
A life lived in fear of boogeymen is not a life worth living, but tell that to an unreasonably anxious and neurotic five year old growing up in the 80′s or, as I life to refer to it, “the stranger danger era.” For as long as I can remember, I have been afraid of almost everything which makes me great fodder for harmless pranksters, other assholes, and the like.
My aunt is no asshole, but she did manage to scare me once worse than I have ever been spooked in my life. More importantly though, she gave me a great memory and a story to fill up a page on this blog. This is that story.
Not that I really picked up on this as a child, but my family was undergoing some major stress. I’m talking tonight-on-a-special-episode-of-’Roseanne’ type of stress. My father was giving my grandfather one of his kidneys, which I realize now is huge stuff. This surgery put my mom and dad, Memaw and Papa, uncle Jimmy and aunt Karen in Florida at Shands Hospital while my cousin Jamie and I in the hands of extended family members who let us swim a lot, watch whatever we wanted, and eat our body weight in Tysons chicken nuggets. I’m certain all the adults were in hell at the time, but this was a child’s dream come true making me extremely thankful I had no real concept of life and death situations that didn’t involve monsters at the time.
On this particular, let’s say it was a Saturday night because who knows- I was five, my aunt Patricia was in charge which meant my cool, older cousin Jennifer and her equally cool friend Kerry were there as well. Jennifer and Kerry were probably ten or eleven at the time and, aside from Madonna, everything I dreamed I would become. We were all gathered around the kitchen island making those chicken nuggets, or pizza, or something else that a kid considers “fine ass cuisine,” when Jamie- or perhaps it was me- suggested that the shadow created by the kitchen light made the antique door handle on the hall linen closet look like a hand.
“I think I do see someone down the hall,” said someone in the party hellbent on scaring the living daylights out of a child. After several moments of speculation and spooks, Patricia took off down the hall stating, “If I am not back in five minutes, come look for me.” The ingredients for a horror movie were perfectly in place at this point and my young heart could barely take it.
“I can’t wait five minutes. Let’s go now.” Jennifer sounded nervous and I wondered if she felt she could easily crap her palpitating heart into her pants right now as well.
The master bedroom in Memaw and Papa’s house is situated at the end of an eerily long and hauntingly dark hallway. To this day, I still nearly into a sprint when I have to travel it alone. We all traipsed along- Jamie, Kerry, Jennifer, and me- clinging to one another in case there was any immediate danger. It was like a really dull sequel to ‘The Goonies.’ We gathered in a cluster at the open bedroom door, everything pitch black. As our eyes adjusted, Jennifer gulped cartoonishly.
“Those are my mama’s clothes on the bed.” This wasn’t happening. It couldn’t be. We were too young to perish. It couldn’t happen. Not like this.
There was movement behind the antique wardrobe on Papa’s side of the bed, an “A-HA!” of epically dangerous proportions, screaming children, and a flash that I just barely saw since I was the first to turn and bolt back down the hallway in the other direction toward the comforting light of the kitchen. With very few suitable places to hide, I cowered under a table and I believe Jennifer was huddling beside the sofa as Jamie and Kerry fought over a large cardboard box that should have been thrown out with the garbage several days prior. Then there was laughter, familiar laughter.
We looked up to see my aunt Patricia in hysterics, dressed in black clothes and waving the polaroid photo she had snapped of our terrified faces as we all thought our lives were hanging in the balance. We have since lost the picture, but I imagine we looked a bit like this kid.
It’s the DIY before and after the whole nation is talking about.
I bet you know what’s coming next.
Thanks, Washi Tape! You’re welcome, America!