Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Ever since seeing the trailer for “The Fourth Kind,” I can’t stop seeing the pixilated face of Dr. Abigail Tyler, and hearing her say “Someone… or something… came into my room… and took me away.”
For most of last night I had to sleep on my left side or my back, because I was just too freaked out to have my back to the bedroom door. I tucked my blanket around my body carefully, even though I was hot. I thought about how alien abductions only happen in the middle of nowhere. It’s not like there was going to be a spaceship hovering in the middle of town, right?
But I was still nervous, because I’ve watched all the UFO shows on television, and I know the scientific explanation for alien abduction: sleep paralysis, a state in which your mind has awoken but your body remains paralyzed. That would be reason enough for panic, but many people also have some horrifying hallucinations during the experience.
I feel about sleep paralysis the way my brother feels about killer asteroids. I wish I didn’t know it exists. Even when I can completely convince myself that I won’t be abducted by aliens (which is a tall enough order when you’re lying alone in the dark), I still have to worry about having the experience of being abducted. Does it even matter if it’s “really” happening if the experience is horrible enough?
I did fall asleep, eventually. I didn’t experience sleep paralysis, but I did have a really strange nightmare.
Here’s the premise: Michael Jackson is sleeping in a bed with a married couple. He may have been sleeping at the foot of the bed like a dog, I’m not sure. Later, the couple are telling someone (a documentarian?) about the noises that MJ made while he was sleeping. You see an image of him asleep and hear these strange, high-pitched noises. They play it back slower, and you hear him calling for his mothership, or something.
And then I woke up. Not in a cold sweat or anything, but kind of freaked out. Still seeing the sleeping face of Michael Jackson. I told Michael I had a nightmare, and he snuggled me. Then I told him I had to go pee, but I was afraid to leave the bedroom.
I expected him to pat me on the shoulder and tell me it would be okay, but he actually offered to come out with me. When you’re with someone for a long time, your displays of affection change. Instead of buying me flowers or jewelry, Michael waits in the living room while I pee so that Michael Jackson won’t get me.
The moment was ruined a little bit when we got back to our bedroom and Michael said, "Don’t worry, the real Michael Jackson will come down in his spaceship and kick his ass.” After a second I understood that he was making a South Park reference, but I still yelled at him. “That’s not funny! We don’t say the “s” word at night!”
Despite Michael's lapse in judgment, I did get back to sleep.
Friday, August 21, 2009
- Pour about 1-1/2 tbsp of cold water into a styrofoam cup
- Pour instant cocoa into the cup. Push the sides of the packet in gingerly, about 10 times, to make sure you get every last molecule of cocoa into the cup.
- Hold two 7" stir sticks as you would a whisk, and whip the cocoa into the water until they form a paste. Be sure to run the stir sticks along the edge of the cup, as you would with a spatula, so that no dry cocoa clings to the side of the cup.
- Fill the styrofoam cup to about 2/3rds full with hot water. You should see a chocolatey foam at the top.
- Holding the two stir sticks like a whisk again, whip the cocoa and water again, being sure that the stir sticks are scraping the bottom of the cup thoroughly, so as not to leave any super-chocolatey deposits there.
- Pour cold water into the hot chocolate until the temperature is as hot as it can be without being uncomfortably so. You should be able to take a sip, but not a swig, without burning yourself.
Since my desk is surrounded by cubicle walls, I took a field trip to a friend's desk to watch the clouds rolling over. These clouds are so thick and black and low that I'm kind of expecting death eaters to come flying out of them. Now that I'm back at my desk, I can hear the patter of rain on the ceiling.
The rain is something interesting to look at, something to listen to. It's a reason to be really glad you're in the building, because right now you're protected from being out in that. Instead of sitting quietly at their desks or making phone calls, everyone is talking about it. "I hope your windows are up!" Lots of laughs. I'm not really participating. I'm just sitting at my desk, glad for the storm that has made my day a little more interesting.
So, Jen and I were texting about Wegman's. When you can send and receive up to 1,500 text messages per month, you don't have to be picky about what topics warrant texts. (Stop judging me!)
Jen had said that she likes Wegman's, but that it can be annoying that they card everyone who buys beer (including her father). I texted back, "that's kinda hilarious, Stan getting carded."
Except "carded" was my phone's second guess. The first guess was "barded." Which totally made me picture William Shakespeare delivering a smackdown to some poor soul, exclaiming "You just got barded!" I'm seriously laughing out loud right now just thinking about it.
Then I got to wondering why my phone would come up with such an odd word. I mean, the past tense of the verb "bard?" Instead of "carded?" Is bard even a verb?
But it is, oh it is! The first definition dictionary.com gives me is too boring to share, but the second!
Cookery. to secure thin slices of fat or bacon to (a roast of meat or poultry) before cooking.
I still can't imagine having occasion to use this word more often than "carded," but I kind of wish that I did (mmm yummy bacon-wrapped meat mmm...).
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
When I was younger, I believed that…
- “telling time” meant knowing what the time was – like, psychically. I thought adults just knew what time it was. I don’t know what I thought all those clocks and watches were for.
- not being able to speak a language (e.g. I can’t speak Spanish) meant that you literally couldn’t make the words come out of your mouth. Learning to speak the language, in my mind, meant learning to make the words come out.
- you couldn’t die while you were inside, because your soul would bump its head on the ceiling on its way to heaven. (It occurs to me that I also apparently believed there was a heaven, and that, should I die, I would go there).
- even though every driver in the world seemed to manage their cars, I would need a car with the driver’s seat in the exact middle of the cab. I think there was one such model in production in the world, and I supposed that I would have to buy it.
- my dad could drive to any city in the continental US without a map or directions of any sort, using only road signs. I didn’t understand how he could talk to us and read all those super-important signs at the same time.
Things I believed about high school when I was in middle school, about college when I was in high school, and about the post-grad working world when I was in college:
- I would be thinner.
- I would have more friends.
- I wouldn’t do or be all the things I didn’t like about myself.
- I would finally be an adult.
- It would be much harder intellectually and much easier socially and emotionally than it actually was.
That first list makes me smile. How magical the world, and the adults in it, seemed when I was little!
The second list is a little angsty, but still amusing. You would think by college that I would have figured out that I've always looked forward to the next period in my life as the one in which I would be transformed, my problems solved. I had discovered that the world wasn't magical, but I still held out hope that time, and its influence on us, was.
Now that I've passed through all the milestones that I had been counting on to turn me into a normal person who has her shit together, and I am not at all a normal person, and my shit is wildly scattered, I know better.
It could be tempting to turn motherhood into that next phase of my life that I look forward to and trust to fix me. I have to be vigilent against thinking like that. The changes I hope for will have to come through effort, not this magical transformative property of time that has yet to pan out.
That's a big responsiblity, but liberating, in a way. I can't sit back and wait for my life to fall into order, but neither will I wake up one morning and find myself an unrecognizable Stepford wife. My life depends on my decisions. How scary. How great.
Monday, August 10, 2009
You see, this afternoon I was fucking hungry. Not just "hungry", not "really hungry", not
"freaking hungry", fucking hungry. And I texted Michael to tell him as much.
I fought my phone every step of the way, sure that it would protect my dignity from my darker intentions. No I don't want an e, I want an f. Not ft, fu. Not fu2 (because, again, seriously, why would I be trying to say that?), fuc. You get the picture.
Michael quickly realized that this was not a drive home from work, make dinner for an hour, then eat kind of night. This was a go to a restaurant to prime my hedonistic tendencies so that he could talk me into a Nintendo DS (on sale at Target!) kind of night.
Next I needed to text Jen to find out if she was in. To explain why I wanted to go out to dinner on a Monday night, I repeated again that I was fucking hungry, but this time I didn't fight. I just typed in "3825464," and what should come up?
My phone still doesn't know how to spell "defrosted," or "damn" (no, I don't mean "econ"), or "fuck" (no, not "dual"), but my phone can officially say "hell," "shit," and "fucking" without putting up a fight.
This was my great victory for the day. We're going to forget for a second how sad that means my life is.