The Liberal Agenda

I have always been a liberal, even way back in elementary school.  I can remember getting in trouble in fourth grade for getting angry during Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural speech.  I don’t remember what I said, but I can tell you with great certainty that Mrs. Baxter was a Republican.  She was not too happy with me and neither were a couple of my friends.  Growing up, I had always heard that Republicans were cold hearted jerks, so I was shocked that some of my friends actually liked Reagan.

Shortly after he became president, Reagan suggested that ketchup should be considered a vegetable in the school lunch program. This was WAY before Michelle Obama was first lady.  So, the school lunches didn’t have many vegetables to begin with, and Reagan wanted to make it so a sugary, vinegary condiment counted as a vegetable.  That qualified as cold hearted to me. Even at age nine I knew that ketchup was not the same as broccoli.

Like a lot of kids in my elementary school, I lived in a low income household with a single mom.  I qualified for the reduced lunch price, which was about half or the normal price. Sometimes, when I didn’t have lunch money, the cafeteria ladies would give me a pity peanut butter sandwich. I usually wasn’t the only kid in the cafeteria with the tell-tale little sandwich. Most of us were living in poverty or close to it.  We didn’t need LESS nutritious food.

While my mom has always been a Democrat, most of the family is Republican. Since I’m one of about three liberals in my extended family, I’ve been hearing all about this supposed “Liberal Agenda” for quite some time. I have heard that liberals don’t work and want to live off of the government. I have two jobs and I have worked since I was 15.  I have heard that liberals hate guns and want to take them all away. Nope.  I have even heard President Obama being compared to Hitler.  Um, really?

Since I am a flaming, card carrying Liberal, I decided who better than to share this secret Liberal Agenda with the world than me.  I know what Liberals are up to. Well, at least I know what Trump supporters THINK we are up to.  So, here is your very own saveable/shareable Liberal Agenda.  Share it with the world. Expose the “truth.”

Liberal Agenda

Crap! I’m running late!

Parallel Parking — The Final Frontier

I recently served a two-month grand jury term.  In addition to learning that there are a lot of trashy people in my town, I learned that I am a coward when it comes to parallel parking. Every Wednesday, my jury days, I would get to the court over an hour early so I could park in a real parking lot. If I didn’t get there early, there would be no spaces in the lot and I would have had to, gulp, park on the street. Confession: I’m 44 and ½ years old and I do not know how to parallel park.

I learned to drive in South Florida, Hollywood to be specific.  Back in the day, in Hollywood, I never had to parallel park.  Even the street meter parking in the down town area was diagonal pull in parking.  Every place I ever wanted or needed to go had a parking lot.

I got so little practice with parallel parking when I had my restricted that I failed my first try at getting my regular driver’s license. When I attempted to park between the two poles, as instructed, I backed into one of the poles. The screechy old woman who was administering my test screamed, “You failed!”

That was my final straw with her. She hated me from the moment she got in my driving instructor’s small Toyota. The license examiner had me press the horn and it made a pathetic, sick frog noise.

“I could fail you for that horn!” She yelled.

My heart immediately started beating faster.  “It’s not my car. It’s my driving teacher’s car,” I told her.  I could tell by her face that I probably shouldn’t have talked back. Oh well.  Too late.

After that rough beginning, it’s no wonder I failed the test.  After I banged into the pole, the examiner had me drive back to the license office.  I shook the whole way.  When I pulled into a parking space in front of the office, I got out and got in the passenger seat.  I started crying as soon as I shut the door. My instructor told me not to worry about failing. He assured me we would try again in a week or so, at a different license office.

This is about my speed when it comes to all things driving.

True to his word, a week later we went to a different driver’s license place in Fort Lauderdale. This time I got a youngish, around 30, man. Since this office was smaller than the other one, the actual driving test took place on neighborhood streets rather than a driving course.  So, there were no poles when I had to parallel park.  There were also no other cars because everyone in the neighborhood parked in their driveways.  Parallel parking was easy with nothing to hit.

After I aced parallel parking, I did a crappy, off road three-point turn. The examiner still passed me in spite of that turn. He even had “safe driver” added to my license.  Honestly, I think he just had a creepy grown man crush on me.  During the test, he told me I was pretty.  He also asked if I had a boyfriend.  I didn’t say anything about that to my driving instructor or my parents.  I was just so happy to have my license, and to not have to parallel park ever again.

Since that day, I have not parallel parked unless there were no cars on either side and I could just pull in.  Whenever I make plans with friends, I tell them to pick a place with “real parking.” If all else fails, I valet park or park really far away. I hear there are cars that can parallel park for you. Until I have one of those, I won’t be attempting any street parking when there are actual cars parked within a block.

Purple Rain When You’re 44 1/2.

I never saw Purple Rain when it came out in 1984. It was the summer before 8th grade for me, and I could not get into an R-rated movie.  A couple of years later, I tried to watch it on HBO.  I caught it about half way through, and back then we couldn’t rewind TV (dark times).  Of course, right when Prince was making love to a huge speaker and begging Darling Nikki to come back, my step-dad walked in.

We lived in a small apartment, and the living room TV was the only one that had HBO. My dad walked in the front door and saw the screen instantly.  “What’s this GAHBAGE?” He yelled in his Boston accent.

I felt my face get hot. “Um, it’s a movie. Um, Purple Rain.” I stammered.

“A movie! Why do you wanna watch smut like that?  Shut that off!”

So, I did as I was told and went in my room to read V.C Andrews books, also smut.  Since I had to turn off the TV and leave the room in shame, and it was 1987 and no cool pirated copies were on YouTube, I never ended up seeing Purple Rain until this week.

After Prince died, theaters decided to show Purple Rain. My friend bought a bunch of tickets to a local showing, so my husband and I decided to go.  As I stared up at the screen from my second row reclining seat, the first thing I noticed was the blur.  No, I wasn’t drunk, even though this fancy theater does have a bar.  The screen appeared blurry.  But it wasn’t.  It was just in glorious 1984 high tech film. You see, young people, there was a time before HD.  Yes, they were dark times.  We used to not be able to see every pore and wrinkle on someone’s face. It was truly a tragedy.

My son and his girlfriend joined my husband, friends and me to see the movie.  It’s ok; they aren’t little kids.  They are 19 and 20, and the girlfriend covered my son’s eyes during certain, um, scenes with Apollonia.  Even so, it was kind of awkward to be sitting two seats away from my baby boy when Apollonia’s obviously enhanced breasts covered the entire screen.  I’m glad my dad didn’t walk in during THAT when I was a teen.

After the movie, on the way home, my son commented on the movie and how it really wasn’t a movie, more of a music video.  He didn’t say anything about Apollonia’s boobs or leather outfit, instead he wondered what the writers’ meeting for Purple Rain must have been like. According to my son, it went something like this.

Writer 1:  Well, we have an hour of Prince performing. Maybe we should throw in a light plot, or something.

Writer 2:  He could be in love, and maybe smack a woman here and there.

Writer 3:  And The Time can play two songs and throw another woman in a dumpster.

Writer 1:  OK! Sounds like we got a movie.

My son is probably right.  While I will always love Prince’s music.  Purple Rain was not a great movie.  It was kind of like a Lifetime movie with a good sound track. It had all of the necessary elements: domestic violence, alcoholism, jealousy, and someone clinging to life in a hospital bed.  The only thing it was missing was a court scene, really.  They probably should have just left the plot part out and just marketed it as one long music video.

Even though it was not the best written film ever, it did hold my attention. I had to pee through most of it, but I kept holding it because I did not want to miss anything.  Then, when Apollonia 6 took the stage, I knew I had time to run to the bathroom.  I just wasn’t interested in women in lingerie singing a bad pop song, or women in lingerie in general.

I’m not going to lie.  I held back tears throughout the entire movie.  Most of the time, I was sitting there thinking, “I can’t believe he’s dead.  Fifty-seven is too young.”  Plus, I’m 44 and ½.  Fifty-seven is right around the corner for me.  Well, maybe not right around the corner. It’s more like half way across town and around the bend, but still.  It’s not that far off.  I was 12 when I heard my first Prince song.  Life has slipped by so quickly.

Other times I was wondering how he was that skinny.  I only saw two foods in movie, Doritos and gummy bears. I don’t think he ate either of them.  Seriously, he had the physique of a prepubescent girl.  I also really wondered where he got his clothes.  Was there a Napoleon R Us store in the 80’s? There was no Amazon, so it wasn’t like it was easy to find real 1799 vintage French Army attire.

It seems like A LOT of great musicians have died this year already, and we are not even half way through the year. I guess this is part of being middle aged. The people we looked up to when we were young are dropping like butts on toilet seats at Taco Bell. I keeping my fingers crossed that Billy Joel, Don Henley, and every member of Guns and Roses will be around for years and years.  All musicians who found fame in the 80’s need to be checked on daily, and possibly wrapped in protective gear. Who do you want to bubble wrap? Let me hear from you in the comment section.

Prince Purple Rain

Image from




How Not to Quit Writing  Writing

Even Andre is trying to figure out how to get paid.

I’m suffering from real life smacking me in the head disorder.  For a good week or so after I came back from the Erma Bombeck conference, I was excited about writing. I saw it as something that could become a real career.  Then, I realized that I had a full time job, a family, four pets, and jury duty. I got sidetracked and busy. I just got so overwhelmed by writing and everything else. While I do get that big $2.00 royalty check from Amazon every month for Misfit Academy and Petty Thoughts, it is just not enough to keep me going some days.  I was at the point of quitting.

Let’s face it, writer friends.  We have all had those days when we think that giving ourselves sinus acupuncture would be more pleasant than hitting one more roadblock to living like Stephen King. The man naps DAILY. There are days when we walk into the day jobs we STILL have and hate the fact that we are not at home in our yoga pants just writing as nature intended.  Well, I know it can be tough to stay on the write, submit, get rejected merry-go-round, but we don’t have to quit.  There are some simple ways to make writing easier.

Get a degree in copyright law. People will steal your stuff.  They will accuse you of stealing their stuff.  You won’t be able to afford a lawyer, so you’ll just need to be one. Make sure your parents, biological, step, or sugar, pay for college. You won’t be able to afford student loan debt.

Learn to be a photographer and an artist overnight. Those words you labor over are not nearly enough. Americans want pictures and they want them now. Your blog posts and books will need to be much more visual.  If you take or draw all of your own pictures, you won’t have to use random “free” pictures from Google and put that fancy copyright law degree to work.

You should also just be a graphic designer. You will need to create pin worthy memes and an instantly recognizable logo for your blog and all social media sites. Make sure your logo can fit on EVERY product on Zazzle and Café Press. You’ll need to make money from selling any and everything.

Become a social media marketing genius. Learn to speak SEO and Fuckerberg’s Facebook algorithm.  People can’t read your super amazing stuff if they can’t find you in the screaming, overcrowded stadium that is the internet.

Be slightly edgy yet common enough to appeal to most mortals. Make the occasional fart joke, but don’t mess with Jesus or pick-up trucks.  That’ll earn you some enemies.

Do not have bills. Just accept that you won’t make money from writing.  Besides, shouldn’t you just do it for free because you love it?

Don’t bother with having family or friends.  They will just talk to you when you are tryingtofuckingconcentrate.  CAN’T they see that you are working? You are here on earth to write a novel so good that Oprah will bring back the Oprah Winfrey show just so she can put your book under every audience member’s chair, not to engage in random chit chat!

Get on ADD meds, or coffee, or Sudafed, or meth. Meth is best. Then, you can write faster AND you won’t have teeth to brush and you can write more during that waste of the day that used to be tooth brushing time.

Check your sarcasm at the door.  Here in Real Baby Mamas of Kardashia, no one understands sarcasm.  It’s become higher order thinking and who wants to think when there are Springer level happenings to watch.

Preorder a tombstone that says, “She was chained to her computer night and day and Random House still doesn’t know who the fuck she is.”

See! It’s SO SIMPLE to be a writer.  You just have to love pain, expect nothing, and never stop writing.  Easy peasy, amiright? So, don’t quit.  Type until your hands curl backwards in carpal tunnel rebellion.  You got this!

Pete Yorn and Middle Aged Dancers

I’m not a Pete Yorn fan, but my husband is.  Since my husband takes me to Disney even though he hates theme parks, I go to live music events with him even though I find staring at a musician I didn’t give birth to as exciting as folding socks.  And this is on a normal day.  Factor in that I had just sat through nine hours of jury duty and had not slept much the night before.  I was close to comatose.   Lucky for me and the husband, I found a concrete “bench” to sit on at the venue as there was really no other seating.

How can there be no seating at a show with an audience full of the newly arthritic joints generation, formerly known as Generation X? There were only like four people under forty there, and they were wearing “Security” shirts.  There should have been row upon row of recliners, but there were no seats.  So, I sat on that concrete and pretended I was Wilma Flintstone sitting on my couch.

While I was sitting there, trying to visualize my bed, I did the only thing I could do in this situation.  I started people watching.  Since I was super tired, and I have a fear of crowded public restrooms used by women who have been downing large beers, I did not eat or drink anything at the event.  My husband, who has the bladder of a camel, sat next to me enjoying pizza and beer. I just stared at everyone.  Of course, I had to start taking notes because the glucosamine party crew was trying to dance.  Here is what I saw.

The I’m Super Cool Drinking Beer Listening to Tunes Jog Walk – You’ve seen this.  The person holds the beer like a trophy and takes huge steps like she is stepping over piles of Great Dane shit.

The Hippie Plie – The heels are touching and knees are pointed out.  The “dancer” bounces up and down like she is wearing a tutu that only she can see.

The I’m not Really 45 Head Bob – Maybe the person is not really into the music, or maybe his knees aren’t quite Adviled up enough to plie.

The I’m Sorta Trying to be Axl Sway – This guy REALLY WANTS to be 1988 Axl Rose.  He tries to do the snakey dance moves Axl did when he sang, but this middle aged dude’s back just can’t quite slither.

The I’m Just Gonna Look at my Phone – I admit it. For the most part this was me.  In my defense, I was taking notes for this fabulous blog.  So, there’s that.

The I Might be Having a Seizure or I Might be Dancing – This person has taken too much Prozac and gives zero fucks.  He moves his entire body as though he has been electrocuted.  When you are observing it, you don’t know whether to call 911 or applaud.

I tried not to laugh openly while watching all of this.  This is part of the reason I focused on taking notes.  The other reason was to take my attention from gagging at the odor of the place.  I didn’t know if I was smelling someone’s beer or old piss.  I’m talking about actual urine not an accurately named craft ale. Seriously, concert venues out there, can you not get some Nature’s Miracle? It works for cat piss, so it should work on beer splatter.

So, do you recognize any of these fabulous “dance” moves?  Have you done any of them.  Let me hear from you in the comments section.  Extra points for pictures or video.

Hermit at the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop

As I clutched the steering wheel with sweaty palms, I glanced over at the speed limit sign on the side of the highway and wondered two things.  Why don’t they have a separate highway for huge trucks? And why had I agreed to leave my nice, safe house and travel to the Erma Bombeck conference?

I had been excited to attend the Erma conference for the entire four months between the time I bought the ticket and the day it was time to make the big drive to the University of Dayton, Erma’s alma mater. On the actual day I had to leave my cozy warm home, family, dogs and cats, I got a little anxious.  Sure, I would get to spend time with writers that I know and love while learning new and fascinating things, but I was also going to HAVE to spend time with people for four days straight.  As an introvert, I lose energy from peopling.  So, I eased myself into socializing.

My shoulders were knotted throughout my entire NINETY-minute drive along side huge trucks.  Yes, people who flew or drove for days, I drove a whole hour and a half to be there.  Don’t hate me because I live in the middle of corn fields.   As soon as I got to my room at the illustrious Dayton Marriott, I decided there was no way I was going to the awards event at the library that night. I imagined a crowded library full of people I did not know, a standing room only event.  Nope. So, instead, I unpacked and hung up my clothes.  Then, I ordered room service and ate in silence as nature intended.  I was slightly disappointed by the WAY TOO MUCH guac on my turkey burger and the fact that this was a Pepsi establishment (I’m a Diet Coke purist), but overall I enjoyed eating without having to feed animals first or do dishes after.  I’m lying. My husband usually does the dishes.

 A hermit at the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop

 My light switch is off. 

At around 8, I received a Facebook message from one of my favorite writers, Her Royal Thighness.  She summoned to the bar as only someone royal can. I had a good couple of hours hanging out with the crew.  Then, the little light in my head turned off and I knew I was done with people for the night.  I got up and told everyone that I had to go read.  Some of them understood what I meant.

I tried my best to appear extroverted throughout the conference. I was super social for me but probably not really social compared to others. I did things to help myself survive the conference and get the most out of it. I had room service four times during the five days I was there, once was during dinner the last night because I wanted to go to the stand-up comedy show later.  I knew that I would not be able to do both. I cancelled housekeeping so I could go back to my room as needed and not have people in there cleaning.  I sat on aisles during presentations because I hate being smooshed between people.  I feel claustrophobic really easily.

I’m glad I was a little on the anti-social side.  I avoided the Erma flu.  Well, some people caught the flu. Others caught a stomach virus, which is NOT the flu.  I don’t know why, but people saying “stomach flu” irritates the piss out of me. At any rate, I’m glad I avoided both of the viruses that were going around. I did so with a combination of not shaking a lot of hands and using hand sanitizer like I was being paid to do so.

I really enjoyed most of the workshops I attended.  My favorite by far was “How to Uncover Your Voice and Get It Down on Paper.”  The speakers, Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff, taught us how to set a kitchen timer and just write without editing or judging ourselves.  As a writing professor, I have known about free writing for years, but I had never really allowed myself the pleasure. During the last five minutes of the workshop, someone told me that Kathy Kinney was Mimi on the Drew Carey Show.  I had not realized that.  I just thought that she and Cindy were awesome workshop leaders.  I immediately followed them on Facebook and liked their page Queen of Your Own Life.

Kathy wasn’t the only famous person at the conference.  A lot of people were taking pictures with Jenny Lawson, the Bloggess, Alan Zweibel (one of the original SNL writers), author Amy Ephron, and writer, actor, and producer Cathryn Michon.  Honestly, I’m just not a fan girl.  I didn’t get pictures or autographs. I haven’t been star struck since I met Michael J. Fox when I was 19.  They are just people with cool jobs. They eat, sleep, and crap like the rest of us. I was impressed with knowledge they were willing to share with us, not the fact that they had been on TV.

The Erma conference is the best writer’s conference I have been to.  I am looking forward to the next one in 2018.  I know that I will probably have a mini panic attack while I am driving there along side semis, just like I did this year. I know I will bathe in hand sanitizer and fight the urge to wear a surgical mask.  My husband suggested that I should buy a bunch of hand sanitizer, don fairy wings and a tiara, and just go as the hand sanitizer fairy.  I think I might do it.  So, if you are at Erma in 2018, look for the short, chubby, awkward girl with fairy wings and claim your free bottle of hand sanitizer.  It could keep you from catching the plague.

Facebook Family Feud

Nice perm , dork!

Long ago, back in the days before high speed Wi-Fi or even dial up, there was a time when we hardly ever saw our extended families.  Maybe, we would see them once every few years for a holiday, or maybe for a wedding or funeral.  Other than that, the only time we communicated with them was via Christmas card or rare phone call.  I miss that time.

Now, we have Facebook to keep us connected with EVERYONE 24/7.  There are some good sides to Facebook.  It’s great for high school reunions and for forming neighborhood groups.  It’s also good for finding work related groups.  For writers, it is one of the best ways to interact with other writers and find new readers.  So, it does have its purposes.

On the other hand, it has some really bad points.  We just get too much information about friends and family.  I’m not talking about when they go to the gym or what they ate for lunch.  I’m talking about things like the fact that they support Donald Trump for president.  I could also do without knowing that a lot of people credit prayer for any successful surgery.  Why even go to the doctor if God is so good? It was SO MUCH better when I just didn’t know these things.

Most of the time I grit my teeth and move on, or get the heck off of Facebook and do something productive.  SOMETIMES, I speak my mind.  This usually ends up beginning a family feud, and not the fun game show kind.  I’m not alone in this. I have witnessed my share of other people’s feuds and they always fit into one of these categories.

Sibling “Love” – This is when siblings obviously don’t like each other, but attempt to post “just kidding” statuses.

“You always reminded me of a baby rhino.  Smiley face.”

“I always knew where my brother was by the trail of boogers on the wall.  Lol.”

Vote Cancellation – I’m one of three Democrats in my family, so I see this one a lot.

“I voted for Trump because my stupid, libtard sister prolly voted for that Jewish guy.  I’m not racist. I just want to make America great again, like Nazi Germany was.”

Outing the Awkward – Sometimes family members post “favorite” pictures of each other.  In this case, favorite means heinous.

“Here’s my favorite picture of my lovely sister.  Doesn’t she look great with headgear?”

Because Jesus – For some folks, faith is more important than being loving and supportive to family.

“I don’t approve of your gayness because I love the lord. I don’t hate you; I hate the sin. Prayers.”

Mom Says – I know parents say they don’t have favorites, but they usually do.  The favorite sibling usually KNOWS this, too.

“These bar pictures that you post all the time are the reason mom doesn’t invite you to dinner.  Mom said she wonders how you ever got married with those teeth. You should’ve worn your headgear more.”

Fugly Fortune – When parents or grandparents die, there is usually some kind of argument over the inheritance.

“Did you buy that new car with that money you stole from me?”

“Grandpa wanted ME to have his Joan Rivers egg collection.”

Pregnant Again – In a lot of families, there is always that one person who just won’t stop branching the family tree.

“We are throwing a baby shower for my sister and her latest baby daddy.  If you gave her a gift at the last four showers don’t bother buying anything.”

I know you all have seen these special arguments on Facebook. You may have even had these arguments.  How could you not when everyone’s thoughts and opinions are in your face all of the time.  I think this is why Zuckerberg chose to call it FACEbook.  Have you seen any that do not fit into one of the categories above? Let me hear from you in the comment section.

The Birds and Bees and OMG’s

“But how did your kitty have her babies without a doctor there?”  My then-seven-year-old son looked up at me after hearing my mom and me I talk about Miss Kitty.  Miss Kitty was a stray we’d adopted when I was about his age. On the day my mom was talking about, Miss Kitty had been very pregnant in the morning, when we left for work and school.  When we got home, later that day, she was skinny and there were four kittens under my bed.

condomsBy this age, my son had already asked how he got out of my tummy. He had seen pregnant women and knew they had babies in their tummies, and he started asking about how they came out when he was about four. I had always told him the truth:  that the doctor did surgery on me and got him out of my uterus.  In adult-speak, my son knew he was a C-section baby.  Naturally, he thought all babies were born like this, so he was wondering how the heck the kittens got out of Miss Kitty when she was home alone.  Clearly, no doctor was present.

I thought for a few seconds, trying to find the words, and then I told him,  “Well, some moms have babies from their vaginas. They don’t need surgery like I did. The babies just come out of their vaginas.”

My son looked up at me with a confused face and asked, “But I didn’t come out of your vagina, right?”

I answered, “Correct. You were a C-section baby.  The doctor cut my belly and got you out.”

He looked relieved.  “Good. Because then I would smell like vagina.”

Want to read the rest?  Head over to Knot So Subtle.


Travel Anxiety and Stress Poop

Whenever my husband and I are on a road trip, this same scene plays out. We will be on the highway, close to a rest area, and my husband will ask if I need to stop.  “Nope,” I say.  “All good.” So, we drive past the rest area, and its mostly clean toilets and head on down the highway.  A few miles down the road, there’s usually a sign that says, “No restrooms for the next 100 miles” or something like that.  Instantly, Anxiety and IBS, start talking to me.  “You have to GO now,” they tell me while pinching my lower abdomen.  I start to panic, knowing there is no bathroom for MILES.  I’m never certain if I’m panicking because I have to poop, or if I have to poop because I’m panicking.  This is kind of like that chicken and egg question.  Which comes first — anxiety or IBS? Or do they just arrive together like a coked up celebrity couple at a B-rate awards ceremony?

Over winter break, we travelled to Southern California AKA where I want to die some day.  Lucky for me, that was not a road trip because it would’ve been a hella long trip with A LOT of poop anxiety between rest stops.  Unlucky for me, it did include air travel, which is in Dante’s third circle of hell, I believe.  Flying causes me all sorts of shakiness and intestinal cramping not only because I hate being WAY UP HIGH, but I also hate being smooshed next to strangers.  Seriously, I’m five foot nothing and a size 8/10. I’m not huge, and I feel claustrophobic.  The seats really are getting smaller.  And so is the bathroom.  How do bigger people even enter the bathroom? It is SO TINY. So, of course, I get super nervous and worry about the possibility of having to poop in it.  Therefore, I get the poop cramps as soon as I fasten my seatbelt.

Usually, after I get off the plane, I don’t have travel anxiety except for if we are doing something that makes me worry about being away from a clean, flushable toilet.  So, hiking, camping, and crowded theme parks require medication.  Also, as I learned in California, getting into a cable car and going two miles up a mountain will bring on the stress poops.

In my husband’s defense, he did ask me if I would be ok with riding in said cable car before he booked it.  And I said yes.  I was probably drunk at the time.  No, I don’t need an AA meeting. I’m not drunk often, but I would have had to have been drunk to agree to that. Anyway, on our way to the cable car it suddenly hit me.  We were about to get in a cable car, with lots of strangers, and ride on WIRES up a mountain.  “Pull over. Go to Panera. NOW!” I said as we were on our way to the murderous wire ride. My husband knew from the tone of my voice that I wasn’t craving soup in a bread bowl.  I ran into Panera like Bruce Jenner before he wore heals.  I had stress diarrhea while someone’s little kid looked at me from under the door.  WHY do little kids do that?

As soon as I got back in the car, I dug in my purse for an Ativan and swallowed it dry.  I should have taken it sooner. Unfortunately, it did not kick in until the cable car was halfway up the mountain.  Before we got on the car, we were asked to smile for the camera for an expensive touristy picture.  My husband smiled a real, genuine, this is so cool smile.  I gave the tense grin of death.  I KNEW I was about to die and I felt like I had to poop. AGAIN.

I made it to the top of the mountain without pooping.  I’m sure the other people in the cable car would be thankful for this if they knew how close they had come to riding in a toilet.  Once we got to the top, we had a nice dinner and some much needed wine.  The ride back down was not as scary because Ativan and wine.  No, I did not have A LOT of wine.  I wouldn’t do this whole cable car up the mountain thing again, but at least now I know it will not kill me.

Husband: This will be FUN! Me: I'm going to shit myself and die.

Husband: This will be FUN!
Me: I’m going to shit myself and die.

So, what about you? Any other people who get anxious about travel? If so, do you get the stress poops, too?




Making People Cringe

It never fails.  Inevitably, I end up in a group setting where people are exchanging stories about their childhood, stories of mom’s cookies, Santa Claus, and sunny bike rides through picket-fenced neighborhoods.  It’s usually a group of nice, normal people.

One woman, smiling as if chocolate has no calories, says something like, “At Christmas, my Uncle Jack would dress like Santa and fill our stockings.” Everyone laughs that warm, sort of fake chuckle of agreement.

Someone adds, “My grandmother made the best gingerbread men.” The people around her nod in agreement because they understand what grandma-made gingerbread men taste like.

People tend to become uncomfortable when it is my turn to share because I offer things like, “I remember one Christmas when my mother knocked over our plastic Christmas tree and screamed, ‘MERRY FUCKING CHRISTMAS!’ There were glass fragments and tinsel everywhere.”  Everyone gives me the sideways dog look of confusion.  So, I just take a sip of wine and give a little smile.

At this point, I should just be quiet.  But no.  I go on.  “Yeah, and then she stole her boyfriend’s credit card because she found out he was married.  We Christmas shopped the heck out of that Eckerd Drug Store.” I take a gulp or three of my wine and look down.

Usually, some smart person changes the subject.  Someone in the group might mention a recent trip to Disney World. Someone else chimes in with, “We took the twins there over the summer.  The humidity about choked us, but the girls really loved meeting all of the princesses.”  Some people nod and smile.

Hearing the words “Disney” and “Princesses” brings up another childhood memory.  EVERYONE takes a drink as soon as they see my lips move. “I shit my pants on Main Street when I was 4.” I stop, and take a big gulp of wine, noting that I am almost out. “Yeah. I was on antibiotics or something, and we all know what they do to your bowels.” I go on.  “My mom cleaned me up in the bathroom.  She was able to get most of it off of me.  Then, she brought me back outside and Snow White was there.  Snow White gave me a hug even though I probably smelled shitty. Those Disney princesses are great.”

I can almost hear people thinking, “Oh dear lord, she is talking about pooping herself in Mickey land. Can she just shut up?”  People begin looking away, hoping if they avoid eye contact I will stop sharing my 1970’s afterschool special memories. Others leave.  This is my gift – making people cringe.  It will go on my tombstone along with “She did laundry.”





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