Josh and I were having an argument. We do that sometimes to break up the monotony of being a couple of overgrown teenagers completely enamored of each other. Oh, it was nothing too serious, just a few back-and-forths, when Josh retorted to one of my arguments with, "Yeah, but you're moody."

Whoa. Okay, fine, argument over. I guess he won because I didn't say anything after that, but he had himself an icicle of a girlfriend. Several long, cold minutes later, after I'd thawed a bit, I decided to tell him why I was mad. He could tell that I was, but the reason seemed to be eluding him. Once I reminded him of the obvious blunder so we could go back to that enamored teenager thing, he laughed and said, "Oh, man, I'm sorry. That was stupid."

Yes, that was stupid. And yes, this is another PMS entry.

Look, no one is more annoyed that I suffer from PMS than myself. You might think you are, particularly after I've started crying, but trust me, I'm fuming inside. It's just hidden under all those other feelings that are bombarding me simultaneously. I hate it, hate it, hate it. I hate the way I become a human faucet, running hot and then cold, but mostly just wet. I hate the completely irrational feelings that I can prove to myself are illogical, but cannot stop feeling. I hate the fact that knowing I'm just a victim to hormones does nothing to help me stop being that way. I hate doubting myself. I hate feeling like everything I'm doing is a waste of time, give up now, abandon hope all ye who enter here.

But the thing that I hate the most...I hate that I am susceptible. I hate being seen as one of those whiny women who think they can be as obnoxious and as bitchy as they want to because of "feminine problems." I hate having no excuse for my uncalled-for behavior but a phantom condition associated with XX-based hysteria (and yes, I know the etymology of that word, I use it intentionally and bitterly). It makes me hate myself as a woman as only the most misogynist people can.

Enough. You'll just have to excuse me, I'm moody.


she tried.

My mother and I were talking about death today, specifically mine. No, I'm not deathly ill, as you can tell by my tone. Were I deathly ill, I would probably start with something more like, "So, uh, listen, you guys...I hope you weren't attached to this blog or anything..."

No, it was some work thing, where I had to sign over my tiny retirement fund to a next of kin in case I shimmied off this mortal coil. So I signed it over to my mother, since I am an old maid. This conversation led to how I wanted her to dispose of my remains, assuming I did not go out in a super cool Earhart-esque incident.

I expressed a desire to be cremated. This is something I have thought about, mostly due to having a rather morbid high school english teacher. I've also written my own epitaph due to that class ("She tried."). And while cremation in itself was kind of creepy to think about at first, since it didn't seem to be in fashion in rural North Carolina. But after a while, I could no longer deny that cremation seemed to be both the sensible (cheaper, space-efficient) and the romantic (scattering to the wind and all that) option.

My mother marveled at my practicality while considering my own death, and then became very practical while considering her youngest child's death.

"Can I get that in writing? Or, could you at least tell someone else so that I'll have someone else to verify it for me? Because if that's what you want, then that's what I'll try to do, but someone else might try to fight me on it, so if that's what you want, we should get it in writing or something."

So there you go.


responsibility to the truth.

Teacher evaluation day. In a good or even mediocre class, it's a good waste of twenty minutes of class time. The teacher has to leave, so you can quickly fill in your bubbles with your #2 pencil and be on your way home a little earlier than usual.

For crummy classes, it's no less than a moral quandary. You could've spent all semester hating this class, loathing this teacher, lamenting every precious second of your life wasted in this room, but when comes time to fill in the bubbles under the words "Very Poor," you kind of lose your momentum. The truth is, I've never had a peofessor who was an all-out bad person, just a terrible instructor. And so do I tell the truth, because I really, really want to, or do I spare the poor sot's felings and doom future students to the same torment? Suddenly the person's better points are glaring at me and I'm weighing being a friendly person against whether I actually learned anything.

The bubbles aren't so bad. You can fill those in, trying to even out your "Very Poor" marks with your "Excellent" ones. You can say that she wasn't so great about understanding the material, but she sure did start class on time! But then you come to the questions on the back with their wide open spaces waiting to be filled with words - in your own handwriting - and you can't just lie to open-ended questions.

Oh, the dilemma. And maybe I say that I softened the blow, but if you read it, you might not know that. I justify my frankness to myself by saying that they asked, and so I told them. If I felt that the class was no good, I have the right say so when asked outright. I have a responsibility to the TRUTH!

But I still disguise my handwriting.


customer service.

Dear Time Warner Cable,

Up until recently, I thought we had an understanding. You provide me with internet at "blazing speeds" and I pay my monthly rate of $44.95, which we would probably both agree is too much for internet but within the bounds of local market rates. Having been your customer for over two years now, I thought we had settled into a friendly understanding. Internet for money, money for internet - it seems simple enough, no?

However, a month or so ago, you saw fit to accuse me of stealing service and decided to cut off my internet. I was given no prior notice of this decision, just a note on my door one day saying, "Oh, by the way, you lousy thief, stealing from billion-dollar corporations is still stealing!" And so I called your marvelous customer service number, who verified that I was an active customer in good standing and told me that someone would be out to correct the problem that same night. Of course, that didn't happen, but I did get a recorded message on my voicemail saying that I needed to be home to receive service. Of course, this voicemail message was on my home phone line, which I had requested your serviceman not use, as it is a digital number and was not working at the time because you disconnected my internet. Ah, that is some hilarious irony, is it not? We finally did get that issue ironed out. If I recall, you magically were able to fix it while I was not at home at all, several days later. Though I was irate at the end of it all, I hoped that the fiasco was over and I could return to peacefully enjoying my internet service without interference from your audit department.

But ah, no. Because today I received a phone call from the Forsyth County Police Department while I was at work, saying that they needed to come in to my residence and physically stop me from stealing all that cable. I asserted that I continue to have an account in good standing, while the police deputy claimed that you, Time Warner Cable, had no record of my account at all. So while your technical representative fumbled, the deputy grilled my poor boyfriend who happened to be at my apartment at the time about the evils of stealing cable services. Meanwhile, I sat in my high-rise office with trepidation that somehow I was in trouble with the law. Finally, your humble technician got on the phone with me to tell me that I actually had no account whatsoever with Time Warner Cable, despite my having sent them checks for $44.95 every month for the past twenty-four months. Luckily, I had not been idle, and so I used the internet connection at my high-rise office to look up my account number. Your technician punched the number in and looked up my very, very active account to discover that, oh no! It's all been a horrible mistake, initiated by the fact that some clerk in your employ had neglected to put my apartment number on my account listing some two years back. So while someone with my name and phone number did have an account at my entire apartment building, the lousy crook living in apartment 4 with the same name and phone number was a dirty rotten cable thief.

If only you had some way of contacting me prior to harassing me and my boyfriend in order to work out this mess without bringing in the local authorities. If only you had left a friendly note on my door or perhaps given me a phone call. Luckily, you know my height, hair color, and three phone numbers where I can be reached now, so I assume you can use this knowledge in the future to avoid any more incidents. I also hope that you remember my apartment number, so that you can save your audits and your deputy speeches for people who are actually taking away from the 9.498 billion dollars you make a year.

Your thoroughly pissed off customer,



castles in the sand court.

This week's edition of Thousand Words Thursday is a picture of a sand castle. And everyone should like a nice picture of a sand castle. But the thing that I like most about this particular sand castle is that it was built on a volleyball court.

I can just imagine a group of teenagers headed to the lake, all ready to engage in a friendly yet competitive game of beach volleyball. They joke and laugh jovially as they approach the court. And yet, as they arrive, they all stop and stare quietly at this little sand castle, before turning around and going home. Because who can crush a sand castle?


grown-up feet.

Sunday afternoon, Josh and I are walking the sidewalks at one of the giant centers of commercialism in Cary, NC. We see a little girl up ahead in a pink velour sweatsuit outside a store. Her dad is standing nearby, holding a baby, and most likely keeping the kids out of the store while Mom shops. The little girl takes a few steps down the sidewalk and then suddenly starts gliding fast, because she's got those shoes with the wheels in the heels. Josh and I grin at each other, and I ask him, "Should we do it?" He answers, "Of course." So we take a few more steps in the little girl's direction before giving ourselves a last push on the sidewalk and launching into the same glide. We hear the dad tell the girl to look!look! and we turn to see her running after us with a delighted smile. We wave before continuing on our way.

And thus the inventor of the wheel looked down from the beyond and saw his great invention reach its peak: wheely shoes. These shoes were our Valentine's Day present to ourselves. Tired of seeing cute children inexplicably shoot by with enormous smiles, we decided that we were not too old to have that kind of fun. So we went to the mall to find to our delight that these shoes are in fact made for grown-ups, or at least children with grown-up feet.

We spent Sunday going around to various stores and practicing our new hobby. We went to toy stores and craft stores and any old store we thought would have the right kind of floor. We alternately walked and skated as we made nuisances of ourselves acting like children.

Josh at one point remarked how he never knew how mischievous I was. I realized that I hadn't known either, and the difference has only been a good partner. I'm used to hanging out with people who think acting silly is fun and cute for other people. I remember suggesting goofy things to do in high school; everyone thought it was funny, but no one considered actually doing it. Josh takes these ideas and one-ups them, and then together we celebrate adult silliness. I can't help that I am now an adult, but I don't always want to act like a grown-up. I still pay my bills on time, but if I want to spend the leftover cash on wheely shoes, then that's my right. I'm just glad that I've found someone to skate along with me.

We were gliding by at the grocery store with our dinner ingredients, cruising by the cashiers on the way to the produce section. An older cashier saw us and exclaimed, "They make those for adults?!"

Why yes, they do.


revenge of the nerds.

On my way to work one day, I was listening the radio morning show I favor. When I say that I favor it, I mean that it's the least offensive of the morning shows available in my area. Anyway, they were talking about geeks. By geeks, I mean nerds, eggheads, Einsteins, or my personal word of choice, dorks. And they were making fun of them in a completely unoriginal fashion. You know, pocket protectors and living with mom jokes. I was shocked and confused, and I think I impaired my own driving by staring at the radio incredulously and then yelling at it. "You're making fun of geeks? But, but, we win!" I thought that by adulthood everyone had noticed that the dorks were the ones making the money, but still, we get no respect.

It reminded me of my high school chemistry teacher, who taught the honors kids a cheer to use in the face of teasing. "That's alright, that's okay! You're gonna work for me one day!" I never heard anyone say it, but my reaction to that kind of mockery was just complete bafflement. I never really understood the kids who made fun of other kids for being smart. It's like they're trying to sabotage natural selection.

Ninety-five percent of my coworkers are dorks. Not just people who have a guilty Star Trek obsession, these are bonafide, math-loving, social skill-lacking, pure grade dorks. I'm immersed in this dork culture, which explains why I was so confused that a radio DJ would still mock us. We make fun of ourselves all the time, but we're smarter, so the jokes are better.

I would like to say that I love working amongst dorks. It's not just a matter of being able to hang out with people with similar interests, though I do love the way I can tell a computer joke and people actually laugh. No, it's the fact that I work with dorks who are finally comfortable with being dorks. They went through the torment of high school, they survived the horrors of puberty, and they came out on the other side realizing that they were never going to be prom kings, and that was okay. They've seen enough of the world to have found their place in it. They've quietly found pretty girls to marry and friends who accept them. They are intelligent and interesting people who finally feel confident enough to come out of their shells and let other people see that.

So, Mr. Wacky Morning DJ, please, feel free to continue to mock the dorks or the geeks or the nerds or whatever you'd like to call us. Dig deep into your repertoire of sophomoric one-liners and give it your best shot. We're easy targets, and we're known for not fighting back. We know we're winning anyway.


not applying myself.

I was watching myself from across both a room and a timespan of about eight years. A girl who reminded me of my sixteen-year-old self stood self-consciously next to the stage at the Cat's Cradle, her arms folded across her chest. The show had not yet started, and so she and her friend were just staking out the area right in front so they'd be sure and have the best spot once everyone else rushed the stage.

I confess that I am prone to see some incarnation of my teenaged self in pretty much any adolescent who looks uncomfortable in public. I always want to go and talk to them, reassure them, "It's okay, kid, you'll make it." This girl was wearing a too-large t-shirt and ill-fitting jeans. She was sporting a pair of black Chuck Taylors, her long mousy brown hair up in a messy ponytail, no makeup. She reminded me of myself in that she was obviously trying to wear what the cool kids were wearing, but she didn't seem to care quite enough about her appearance to put in enough effort to pass as a cool kid. Man, that's me all over. I imagined both our fashion report cards being riddled with comments like "Does not meet full potential" and "Not applying herself."

She and her friend didn't seem to have much to talk about, so they just hung out at the front of the room, watching people and attempting to look casual as they waited for the bands to go onstage. They didn't have long to wait. To the right of the stage, an awkward adolescent all grown up was giving a boy an affectionate and unabashed public kiss before he headed to the stage to play a rock show. I pulled away from my bassist, and as I turned, I caught her watching us with a kissing virgin's envy. I smirked to be a rock star's girlfriend, to be comfortable with who I am, to not be sixteen anymore. What a marvelous feeling to realize that the girl I used to be would have very much wanted to be the girl I am now. I took my new knowledge and my private smile to the the bar. Even the most confident of us need a beer sometimes.



I come out of the rightmost of two stalls into the tiny and crowded restroom of the Laundrolounge. A trio of girls blocks my way to the sinks, and yet I have to get to past them, because I don't want them to think that I'm gross by forgoing the post-urination handwashing.

They see my need and get out of the way. I can tell they're going to be here awhile. Girls often linger in the bathroom, either to gossip in private and relative quiet or to touch up their hair, makeup, clothes, and all the other accoutrements to being a girl. But these girls aren't worrying about their makeup. I can sense some drama going on. I finish up at the sink and turn to grab some paper towels. Right next to the paper towels is one of the girls, completely ruining her carefully-applied mascara by allowing tears to spill down her cheeks.

This is awkward, or at least I assume it is for her. I hate crying in front of other people. I feel weak and ugly, and that's really not a good combination for me. I prefer witty and radiant, to tell you the truth. This poor girl is miserable and here some tall girl is intruding on her private moment. I can hardly pretend that I didn't notice, so I make a snap decision, based on years and years of being a girl. I look her in her red, wet eyes and say,

"He ain't worth it."

"I know," she sniffles back.

Ha! I win. A twenty-something girl crying into the shoulders of her friends inside the restroom of a club? There's a man involved.

I throw my paper towel away and catch the eye of one of her friends as I'm leaving. "You're so right," she whispers as I pull on the door to exit and leave these girls to their moment. I've been in her shoes before, consoling a girlfriend as she wept and wailed over some guy that wasn't even worth her time. I don't feel bad for possibly dissing a great boyfriend - a girl's gal pals are usually right. I hope somehow the fact that a complete stranger could tell that this guy was a creep gives her the strength to cut him loose, but I doubt it. Then again, us females are a sappy crew, and we tend to attach too much significance to the things that happen to us. Maybe this girl sees me as some sort of relationship fairy godmother.