Monday, August 24, 2009

Why does my subconscious hate me?

Saturday night, I had a dream.

In the dream, I was auditioning for some kind of television show, or possibly the Percy Jackson and the Olympians movie. There were all kinds of houses where I was, like a summer camp, and some of them were in trees. I had to climb tall ladders to visit the Other Laura from high school, who had apparently married Ricky, also from high school. Even though in real life, that is not so.

After I visited their house (and climbed a very tall ladder to get to it), I went back down and met a group of people, one of whom was that lady who runs Vogue magazine, who everyone says is pretty evil. Although really good at her job.

Anyway, Vogue Lady was actually Aphrodite, or the goddess of looking pretty, whoever that is. I asked her how she could be Aphrodite, and she said, "You don't have to be pretty to know pretty."

And it was pretty clear she knew pretty wasn't me.

This was made even more clear when she volunteered to make me over, to show me how to be pretty, since that is an art mothers are supposed to teach their children, and mine was a child of the 60's and 70's, when they didn't believe in make-up or hair care products.

Or bras.

It is not without precedent, in my dreams, for celebrities (or well-known people of any type) to single me out as an example of what not to do. Why, a few months ago, I got ousted from American Idol by Simon Cowell, who told me my fatal flaw was to see the good in everyone and expect them to do the same with me. I told him that his was the opposite.

We parted in good humor.

The Vogue Lady took me to a room where I was made beautiful. I was forced to keep my eyes closed at all times during the process, and I was prevented from asking questions. After it all was done, I looked better than I had ever looked in my life.

"Wow!" I said. "I look better than I've ever looked in my life!"

The Vogue Lady nodded. She knew it was true.

After this was finished, I was taken away and left via a little door into a waiting room like a doctor's office, where I was going to apparently pay the bill. I was told that for $5000. I could have a lesson to learn how to be pretty like that all the time.

"I don't have $5000," I said.

The lady behind the counter, Vogue Lady, smirked at me as if she had known it all along. She rummaged around in a drawer and pulled out some pills, which she then handed to me.

These were Pretty Pills, and if I took them every day, they would help a little. I was told to come back if I had money, because they would be happy to teach me later. But we both knew I wouldn't be back. I would never be rich enough to be in the Pretty Group.

I know.

But it gets worse.

Last night, I dreamed that I was spending time with my friend Jennifer, who has found a guy she likes and wants to date. So that you all know, I will publicly "out" Jen if she decides to neglect me due to the existance of said boy (man, I guess), That is not allowed.

I smiled and said goodbye, and then I got in my car and drove home.

My mother had company over, people from my church who don't like me all that much. Also Grandma and Grandpa B.

She chose this time to confront me about some problem she percieved.

"What is this?" she thrust a brown bottle--those old medicine bottle things made of glass with the dropper on the lid--at me. "Smell this. I know what this is!"

"Mom, what are you talking about?" I asked nervously, looking at the large group of people who surrounded us, watching my trauma go down.

"I found this in your drawer, Laura. And I know what it is. I've smelled it on your breath."

It, apparently, was opium. Yes, I had opium in my nightstand drawer in this dream world.

"Oh, Mom," I said. "That was from my wisdom teeth surgery ages ago. I mustn't have thrown it out."

"This is a new bottle," Mom said. "How dare you drive on this stuff. I can't believe you!"

And as with all dreams that take the path of false accusation/parent I love deciding to hate me suddenly, I began to cry uncontrollably, and Mom kept mocking me for it.

So I got back in my car and drove away, sobbing, trying to call Jen. And in my dream world of neglect and low self-esteem, Jen happened to be out on a date when I had no where else to go.

Finally, a family found me and let me cry on their staircase for a while, because when I cry in a dream I always end up on some staircase somewhere, just like what happened in my real life as a little girl, when I found out my mother was in the hospital and they thought she was dying.

And then my alarm went off, I got up, and I went back to my real life.

What is up with those dreams? Seriously, what is the problem? How bad off must I be to have such dreams?

I don't even have any idea. Except to say, I'm glad I wasn't on benadryl this time, or it would all have been a lot worse.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

In Which I Think God Hates Me, or a Monday

Monday I woke up at 4:30 am due to extreme thunder. I then finally fell asleep, and my alarm went off.

Then, in pitch darkness, I got out of bed.

I proceeded to make myself passable, as in clean and brushed and dressed, since there really isn't anything else I could do short of altering a shop vac to suck out my fat at home, because home is cheaper than hospital. And easier than, say, physical fitness.

Going into the kitchen, I bypassed the Plumbing Zone, where piles of dishes taken from our broken dishwasher and broken parts taken from our broken dishwasher lay on the counter top, and the sinks were filled with huge tubs to catch the water so the basement didn't flood.

It's a long story.

But the plumber is coming today (Tuesday) and it all might get better from here on in. Mom will be able to stop using the tubs to wash dishes, draining the tubs into the bathtub. And we will no longer live in the Third World.

Cholera, anyone?

Meanwhile, it was becoming abundantly clear that my poor dog was terrified of thunder. She had not stopped following me, tail between her legs, since I woke up, and when I looked at her, she wagged her tail as if to say: FIX THIS PLEASE, RIGHT NOW! All of this told in quiet doggie desperation.

Meanwhile, I knew there was water in my car, there just would be. It had been out all night with a leaky something, and my seat was going to be wet.

A long day passed. During which, I was told repeatedly that my eyes were bloodshot (no sleep) and asked questions there was no way I would know the answer to (What did we do last year for--well, I wasn't here last year...so...)

Then I went home, we ate dinner. Mom had done innumerable loads of dishes, so the kitchen was clean, if still broken. The plumber was apparently just coming to take pictures tomorrow (today) so this will go on.

And I decided I could sure use an Oreo.

Now, there is a doctrine to Oreos. Like, why make a chocolate cookie with two parts chocolate and one part filling? There is no purpose to that. I don't know how we lived before the double-stuffed kind. That was no kind of life. But at that point, I was willing to compromise. I wanted cookie goodness, and failing that, a cake of some kind.

I don't know why we did this, but we went to the local convenience store in search of...convenience.

No Oreos. Just those stupid cake things that Oreo makes like they're some kind of improvement. They aren't. Cake isn't cookie. There is no excuse for that. No addictive little powdered donut things, either. In fact, all they really had was milk. Oh, and Snicker's Ice Cream Bars, which are good, but not when you want a cookie with milk.

This was tragic.

I went home and put my ice cream in the fridge. I knew the day, if it had been at all good, had just become evil. I was sleepy, and I wanted a cookie. Was that too much to ask.

"Dad," I called down the basement stairs. "I may as well be dead."

He laughed at me. My family is used to minor dramatics in which I obsess over a relatively unimportant thing, sometimes for days, then get over it as if nothing happened.

"Will you just kill me, please?"

"Well, what's the matter, Laura?"

"If people aren't going to have Oreos, there just isn't anything I can do," I said. "I mean, Oreos are one of those staple snack products. And I just don't think people understand why you can't just not have them."

Dad still was laughing. I wasn't.

"Oreos are important. They impact people's lives," I went on.

"Would you like me to go with you to the little store in Urbana, and see if they have them?"

"No," I said. "Because the Urbana store only has Oreos that other people have already broken. And those people are scary, and the shelves are dirty. Eating food from there can give you dysentery, or cancer. I don't want to have to wipe dirt off my Oreo package before I open it. I'm not that kind of girl."

I continued, surveyed the kitchen, while Dad stifled more laughter, having realized that I was utterly serious about all of this, and laughter might push me over the edge and into tears--something that happens when I am sleep deprived and my will is thwarted.

"We aren't homeless, you know," I finished.

"No [choking noise that might have been laughter], I guess we aren't," Dad replied.

I went back and killed monsters in one of Paul's video games. Eventually, I ate my Snicker's Ice Cream Bar and divided for the arms of my cardigan. This cheered me up. Then Mom put on a BBC Mystery involving the worst kind of sexual sadism, the kind with conical devices and horrible, horrible things I should never see--EVER--and then I put away my knitting, giving her a look that I hope conveyed my belief that she never is to bring another one of that series of mysteries home, and went to sleep.

And here I am. I am still sleepy, there are no Oreos, and the dishwasher still doesn't work. In addition, there is no prospect of Oreos for at least six or so more hours.

But there isn't any milk here, anyway.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Don't stand so close to me.

Last Friday, I picked up my cell phone and took a peek at it, and saw that I had a text message. This is what it said:

"Who were the ancient heroes of old? Hercules and...?"

It was from Dad.

And so I called him and said, "You, of course."

Which in a way, was a burn as much as a compliment.

And he said, "What?"

So I then explained. And he thought it was this great compliment, and spoke with a really deep voice, saying: "Why, thank you, Laura." Followed by a rendition of Gaston's song in Beauty and the Beast, "Every inch of my body, is covered with hair!"

Thanks for that, Dad. But at least I wasn't there to see him showing off chest hair. Eww.

He then made me list off all the famous Greeks I could think of, made easier by my recent read-through of Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

Later, at home, I found his list:

Dedalos
Odyseous
Thesies
Akiles
Persios
Hercules
Beowulf
Gilgamesh

Some of the names weren't misspelled.

I fixed the rest, and after he said, "Hey, I need that song--"

This is when he proceeded to sing these lyrics, although the tune he sang them in had little to do with the original song his rendition was based on. To quote American Idol, he "made it his own."

This was the song: "Every breath you take, every da-da-dum, every something-something,[pause] I'll be watching you!"

I think the pause had something to do with forgetting lyrics, rather than dramatic effect, though it may have had to do with forgetting the song he was trying to sing altogether.

Because I am somewhat musical and know my dad and the varied depths to which his psyche plunges him on a daily basis, I knew he meant a song by The Police, the one that the CBS (Columbia Business School) professor remade in the funny video I love and play for everyone I know. Jen played it for me during the election.


You know the real song, right? Every Breath You Take by The Police. Sting, you know?

Good. Because I'm not going to sing it for you.

Dad wanted me to get it for him.

"Download it!" He said.

"Do you have five hours?" I asked him. "Because that's how long it's going to take."

This is with the understanding that my dial-up would work the first time, and that I wouldn't have to diagnose my messed-up connection a billion times because Best Buy didn't give me a new dial-up modem when mine was freaking out, it just tried to fix the driver for the one I have--it didn't work but I'm not about to take it back.

"Five hours?"

"Yep. That's about a minute of song for every hour of download time," I said. "Provided nothing goes wrong."

So he handed me a twenty and I went to Walmart, discovering they had not one album from The Police, and only one by Sting, which mercifully happened to be Sting and The Police: Greatest Hits, or something to that effect. I don't have it in front of me right now.

I bought it and drove home, thinking about how funny it was that Dad was about to use a song in his sermon (why else would he want an album by the band in question?) written by a man who also had an album called "Tantric" and then it hit me--there was no way in any realm of the imagination that Dad would know that.

Hmm...

Now, a good daughter would have paused the Sting song she was listening to and called her pastor father to alert him to that fact, and the fact that the song she was listening to was about a man who was in love with a prostitute too. And that he might want to be prepped for defending his song choice in front of the very, very angry people churches can sometimes produce (they seem so nice when you first meet them).

But this is what I did: I turned up "Roxanne" and kept driving. And I decided that, if anything went wrong, I would cry ignorance and say, "What's "tantric" mean, Daddy?"

Because life is just funnier that way. And if all else failed, I would be in a pew twenty feet away from him when the music started playing. He would be far enough away that no one would put us together in their memory of the event. And there are back exits, you know. And I wouldn't be far enough away that he couldn't see me.

Just far away to make it look like I wasn't laughing.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Where's the milk?

I love my brother. I really do. And this is not completely his fault--how could it be? We all eat.

So yesterday, I woke up. I got out of bed, and I walked over to the fridge and opened it, as I do each day. I pulled out my Good Morning, Shakespeare mug.

It's really just Shakespeare. I call it Good Morning, Shakespeare because I have my morning milk in it. My evening mug says "Book lovers never go to bed alone" and it is white. I have it before bed because I still have my contacts in and I can tell how much, if any, milk is inside it. It gets confusing when you can't see.

Also, it makes me smile, so I go to bed in a happy mood. Shakespeare wakes me up, because when you think Shakespeare, you'd better be concentrating.

There's a kind of twisted logic to it all.

Anyway--back to the fridge. I eased the door open and reached for the milk. And there Was No Milk.

That was cold. I mean, who would do that to me?

Famously, during the winter, I woke up without my morning milk and there was no prospect of getting any because my car was getting fixed. I was in such a horrible mood that my mother called ahead and convinced my father to bring milk home in an effort to appease me, although it did not work because I had already gone without. It was like a day-long depressive episode. Life without milk just does not work.

I was going to work, though. It would all be okay. I could buy milk on my way in.

But there was also no bread. And, of course, no cereal to go with the no milk. And no eggs, not that there would be toast to go with them. So no breakfast for Laura, period.

This is not an unusual occurence in my house. People eat food, Mom likes to grocery shop once a day because it makes her happy to pick out food for one meal at a time, and that works fine, unless she gets a migraine. Or unless someone eats the food, randomly.

I eat out a lot. It is because I don't get first pick. Our house is like a show on Animal Planet. See, one animal, presumably the Alpha Male, gets first go at the carcas. In this case, Paul is that animal, because Mom is still afraid he will just starve to death one day, since he eats only red meat and some fried foods, like potato chips.

Paul = Alpa

Then we have the Rogue Male, the one who roams from place to place, picking off the pride's left-over scraps and cracking open the bleached bones of the fallen to suck out the marrow. This is Dad. He shows up at about 9:30 pm every night, picks through the remains of dinner, and whatever else he can grab from the fridge and cabinets, and then goes to sleep.

Dad = Rogue Male

Mom, of course, is the lioness. The hunter. She goes forth, brings back food, and comes home with it. She then provides it to the hungry pack and lets them go to town. However, she also protects the share of the Rogue Male, the one who stepped aside so younger and stronger lions could fight to protect the pride.

And then there is me. You could argue that I am one of the minor lionesses, the kind that gets to pick at the remains right before the Rogue Male gets his share. But I think, rather, that I am the wildlife photographer. The one who gets maimed if they get too close, who lives on protien bars and water as I sit in a tent for six months, snapping pictures of the carnage. Every once and a while, a supply truck comes and I might get some food out of it, but I can't have a fire or anything, because that will get me killed or scare away my subjects. I believe this because I'm blogging about this situation, not anyone else.

We all know the food I leave around gets eaten. That's fine. I'm ready for it now. But all the rest of it? Can I have my own little fridge outside to put things like milk and jam into? Something off limits?

But if Mom sneaks into my room to use my eyeshadow without asking and I only find out about it when I discover it in her make-up bag or because she rubs the sponge brush thing so vigorously that the whole thing turns to dust that sprinkles on my floor when I open it, then I doubt the personal property thing will cover foodstuffs, either. Too bad.

Now, you would think with all this, I would lose some weight, wouldn't you? But no, all the take-out I eat more than makes up for lost caloric intake. Too freakin' bad.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

And they're off...

Because I just had my fill of 100 year old plumbing as I plunged a toilet.

Eww...

Oh, dear goodness, let 8:00 arrive so I can cleanse myself with soap, bleach, various acids...and burn my clothes because even though nothing touched them or even came close to touching them, they will never be the same again...

Jennifer's right about me. I am crazy all the time.

When I want to kill children, I write blogs.

Right now, there are two little girls in here that are driving me crazy. Both have nothing better to do with their time than to ask me question after question, then when I tell them I need to work, they argue with each other until they resort to violence, then I tell them to stop, and the questions start again.

"What does this cart do?"

"Can I sign up for Yahoo?"

"Can I pet your puppies?" Stuffed animals.

"Can we shelve books?" Dear God, no.

"Can I buy books?" Not here.

"Can I check them out?" Sure.

"What if I have a fine on my card?" Then no.

"What if I pay the fine." Yes.

"What if my mom comes in and pays the fine tomorrow?" Then tomorrow, you can check out books.

"Can I check them out today?" If you pay the fine.

"Can I cut out leaves?" No. We're closing and I would have to drag out the paper and put it away in ten minutes. And then clean up the mess you will have made. You loud, loud, children.

"Can I stay here until 8:30?" No, because the doors will be locked, and I will not be here. The lights will be off and the security system will be armed. So if you're in here, it will only be until the police come and arrest you, then me, because I endangered you by locking you by yourself in the library after hours without the consent of your parent or guardian, who may or may not be in jail right now. Leading you to be here with me at 7:30 in the evening.

"Can I play with the toys?" Yes, be my guest.

"Can I take them home?" No.

"What if someone breaks them?" Then they will be broken.

"Who's that for?" Someone who called in and asked for it.

"Does YouTube work?" Ask YouTube. They'll be happy if it does, angry if it doesn't, because it's costing them money to fix it.

"How old are you?" Much older than you.

This will go on until I lock the doors and send them home. My private, endless hell. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Too Lazy

Everyone, I am too lazy to write two blogs in one day, so go read what I wrote over here.

And you can see the mountain I almost fell off of, and hear about Mom and the raspberry cheesecake.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ouch, Jen. Ouch.

I wrote three blogs on Saturday that I decided were too mean, because in them I defamed my Prime-Rib-Birthday-Dinner-Stealing brother more than was necessary for my happiness and certainly more than he would have liked. On the off chance that someone out there who reads my blog happens to meet Paul and decide that his hideous and unforgivable behavior would make him unemployable/undateable/or otherwise unendurable, I decided not to post my rage, but infer it with the following fragments:

Laura not happy. Not happy, at all.

Paul evil.

Way evil.

Deserves torture.

Laura pacifist.

Paul survives.

The End.

On Saturday night, I went over to Jen's apartment because the two of us were too tired to think of doing anything else. The night before we had watched the last episode of MASH, which was good fun, although kind of depressing for me. Because I've run out of MASH and I have no other TV series to replace it with.

Sigh.

The two of us were doing what we usually do, using our computers and the wireless internet from some nearby business or dwelling. Jennifer was doing...something? I don't remember, Jen. I can't be your press agent. Sorry.

And I was, as usual, trying to figure out what the heck Best Buy changed when they had my computer for too long, a month or so ago.

Seriously--where the heck is my anti-virus?

They took it right off is where. Not working, at all.

So I decided I needed to get myself some anti-virus, right then, meaning internet download time. But the internet was not working.

When I had finally connected, and told Jen, she connected, causing the internet to no longer work for either of us. She disconnected, and it started up again for me.

"That is it," Jen said, and we went to Walmart for a router. That is how those kinds of things happen, with the two of us. One second we are complaining about the same problem we have faced a thousand times before, and the next moment we are solving it with as much determination and resolve as either of us possesses apart, made all the more strong by the combination.

We discovered Walmart associates to be no great help. I broke down and called Paul. He didn't answer, proving yet again how evil he is.

Jerk.

Anyway, Jennifer asked the Walmart lady how this thing gets hooked up. The Walmart lady gave the famous Walmart Blank Look which basically is a combination of "how the heck should I know" and a deer in the headlights saying "please, don't ask me."

She picked up the phone and asked several logical questions and listened to some fairly short answers. Then she turned to us and it got interesting.

"You hook the box up to the thing. And the thing into your laptop. No. The laptop into the thing, into the box, into the thing, into the laptop." A pause. "No. The thing into the wall into your cable into the thing. Your laptop. No. Hold on."

She turned to pick up the phone again even as the assistant manager, the man from the phone, rounded the corner and explained in mere minutes what the poor woman would have taken hours to try to clarify for us.

"There," she said. "Now keep your receipt, and if something goes wrong, just bring it back."

"Yes," I replied. "We'll bring it back and throw it at the assistant manager."

And with that, we went for food.

While waiting for our spinach artichoke dip and hot wings (me and Jen, respectively), we discussed the upcoming installation of Jennifer's technical equipment.

"It shouldn't be that hard." I said. "It shouldn't. That being said, anything could happen."

We could, for example, end up on the phone with India while we spell out our e-mail addresses by saying things like, "L as in Larry" repeatedly. And if you don't think that happens, ask Jennifer.

"But then it could make us crazy. I've had things like that make me crazy before. So it could make me crazy now."

"How would that be different than normal?" Jen said, burning me in a totally cruel, heartless, evil, cold, mean way that I completely did not deserve no matter how true it was and is. And no matter how funny it was.

So I laughed out loud, harder than I usually do, because Jennifer so rarely does that kind of thing and it is so funny when she does that it makes me wish she would more often, if it wouldn't be so detrimental to my mental well-being. Which is suffering already, if you ask Jen.

We spent the rest of the evening hooking up wires, unhooking them, re-hooking them, and waiting for something to happen that never ended up happening. Meanwhile, we read aloud to each other from the MASH novel. But it didn't help so much. I guess it was just to keep us both from getting angry. And eventually I broke down and left, telling Jen as I walked out to call Andy and wake him up because if there was anyone I knew that would know what the heck was going on it would be Andy. He's good like that.

As for Poor Jen and her wireless, it all worked out in the end, because I am using it right now to write this post. Mostly because I told her I was working on one and now she will be sad if I don't finish it so she can read it. Otherwise I bet it would be in my edit posts page with the three separate posts I wrote about the zoo and Paul being evil but didn't post because of that, yet still have referred to him as evil many, many times in this post so I may as well have done it anyway.

And if you have a problem with that sentence, I don't want to hear about it. Just go to sleep. Like I'm going to.

Just as soon as I drive home.
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