Dragons

It is commonly believed that every little girl wants a pony.  And why shouldn’t she?  Imaginary ponies are small and manageable compared to a horse, run faster than parents, are very willing to stand still for hours at a time while you braid and ribbon their long flowing manes, and never poo.  There is some debate over whether or not they also eat broccoli under the table and fetch newspapers, or if that should remain strictly in the territory of imaginary dogs. 

If a little girl requires all of those qualities in her imaginary pony, then I’m pretty sure that I need a dragon.  With a telepathic link to my thoughts and emotions, my dragon would build models with me, laser cut materials by channeling his fire into a fine point, and stand behind teachers breathing heavily at reviews.  You know, just to mess with them.  And, just like in the tv show Merlin, I could go about a mile out of the city, stand in a field and shout “DragON!!  Hsoidfjk ffnd gealnd ne blaalok!” when I’m feeling dramatic.  That would probably be my favorite part, actually.

Also, my friend Sarah needs a Pegasus.  For some reason it just seems right.

Allegorical Summer

The problem with having a blog that I don’t update regularly is that, now that I have a few minutes to write something that anyone else would actually want to read, it’s a daunting task to pick out which anecdotes most warrant sharing.  In the interest of maximum entertainment value, I choose to tackle my plights topically, episodically, and allegorically.  The following, therefore, have been adapted to include the characters of Star Wars. 

 One way

 It so happens that we are involved in a project to revitalize the Gwarp Nebula.  Fortunately for us, several other nebulae within a reasonable distance for light speed travel have recently undergone similar projects.  Darth Sith, the two other interns, and I therefore packed up the soccer-mommiest space vessel in the quadrant and traipsed across the stars to find these gems.  They included the typical things that a hard-working and well-off business darth wants in a tourist destination:  bike lanes, park benches, façade treatments, and such, but we wanted to dig deeper, see how the narrower streets with low speed limits for hovercraft promoted business, get a taste for the demographics, and consider life in these oases of peace and harmony.

 Cut to ten minutes later.  The peace and harmony of our one-way street is somewhat lessened by our presence.  Darth Sith curses the sun and stars and swears on the ash of his forebears that no sign told of this ancient foe. 

 The next day, as loyal drones do, we went back to take photos, and we found this:

  

 Clearly, Yoda is up to his old tricks. 

A Phantom Menace: Bad Veg

With a practically unlimited budget for groceries, us drones consider carefully what delectable goodies we choose to put into our weak little solar-powered bodies.  One night, only Earth vegetables chosen from the finest chain store would do.  We chopped our little automated hearts out, marinated our veg. in oil and coolant, and grilled them on top of the port engines.  We had high hopes, and were certain that we would not be disappointed with this meal.

Twenty minutes later we were horribly disappointed with that meal.  Something had gone wrong.  Strangely, though, we were all bugged with a polite virus that night.  With each of us thinking that the other two had loved those horrid rancid vegetables, we began to dish out the leftovers the next night. 

Who wants eggplant?  Who does indeed.  We realized our systems error and quickly updated our databases to include more honesty, less courtesy.  Of course, horrible brawling broke out the next night, but I’m pretty sure that was unrelated.

 

Chicken Hat.

Sometimes, living in Beach Haven, NJ, (You know, the place where everyone is on vacation except me and Mary the other intern and we suffer and see people on vacation but we can only relax ourselves through beach frisbee after work but that doesn’t go well because the beach is really windy?  *giant inhale*  Yeah, that place.), I go for walks at night for some me time.  I listen to my iPod, clear my head a little, watch the tourists, and then head back and try to cope with the thought of another day. 

One evening, however, the impossible happened.  I thought to myself, “Heck, I’ll just walk into this department store-type place that I’ve never visited before and have a look around.”  And look around I did, my friends.  Don’t ask me to recreate the vibe anytime soon, but for some reason browsing beach gear was appealing in that moment.  I walked around the side to the back, then up the middle to the front again.  The cash register stand was set back from the front just a bit. 

Then I saw it.  It was beautiful.  Its yarn was arrayed in just that way that told you, “I was made by semiskilled workers in a backyard to the soundtrack of eight screaming children, two of them mildly dyslexic.”  It was… a chicken hat.  My friend Laura just happens to be a connoisseur of fine chicken apparel, and her birthday was coming up.  Could this have been planned any better?  It was as if tiny cherubs came down from heaven, planted the hat at the bottom of a tall rack in a discount beach gear store behind the cow, and then waited for me to pass by so they could all sing “Ode to Joy” in my subconscious.  Or megaconscious.  Or consciousness of my conscious.  Well, you get the point.  That hat would be mine so it could later be Laura’s no later than four days after her birthday because nothing’s perfect. 

The next day I remembered to bring actual money with me and the angelic chorus picked up where it left off.  A thought had occurred to me in the mean time, however.  It was in the general vicinity of a lot of children’s paraphernalia – what if the hat was too small for an adult?  The thought devastated me, but I had to admit the possibility.  It would have to be tested.  I picked up the hat.  The glory of the previous day sang through still, though tempered with the wisp of doubt and uncertainty.  I casually headed to the back of the store, where tiny sundresses boasted of being thirty percent off.  I struggled to find a corner where others would not see me clearly, and momentarily considered if I could crouch down without looking more suspicious than normal.  Coming to a negative conclusion, I reluctantly drew the chicken hat over my head and waited for the scorn. 

Divine intervention drew me to its bosom, and, somehow, life continued normally.  Chicken hat was the real deal. 

And the rest of the story is aptly documented here: http://laurajanewrites.com/2011/08/11/poultry-garb/

A Boston Shower

Hello, Friends.  Tonight I would like to spin you a tale of lies and deceit, courage and the hardiness of the human spirit. 

Instead I will tell you about showering in the form of a checklist. 

1.  Stop shivering long enough to consider personal hygiene.  Yes, the space heater situated 3.5 inches from your pinky toe keeps your pinky toe warm, but sometimes the rest of you needs a little something extra.  What if there were a place to consider both cleanliness and warmth?  A dream, you say?  No, that’s just the hypothermia getting to you.  Take a shower. 

Seriously, you smell like Kermit’s lily pad on a temperate moist day.

2.  You’ll need to allow plenty of time for this step as the peeling process can be painful and require contortion.  Starting with your emu down parka, begin peeling off the fifteen layers of clothing into which you have managed to squeeze your body through various defiances of physics.  You may be a panty size 5, but if layer thirteen is a size small then clearly that bustier is earning its salt.

3.  Between layers, start the water in the shower so that it can heat.  When you step in, try to control your shock and/or overstimulation.  As you slowly regain feeling in your limbs, picture a nice day at the beach while ignoring your earlier feelings of hopelessness ever seeing summer again.  The first ten minutes are for thawing, so as your deeper tissue begins to soften you may experience some feelings that you thought had stayed in Vegas. 

4.  The turning point.  At last you.  Are.  WARM.  (Praise heaven)  No one can stop you now.  Enjoy this moment, for deep in your heart you know what must follow.

5.  The last fifteen minutes are for steeling yourself to get out of the shower.  I won’t sugar coat it; it’s cold out there.  Damn cold.  Especially when you’re wet and clinging to a thin towel like a hairless rodent.  You become wrinkley, disoriented, and heat drunk, and finally it is time.

6.  Turn the water off….now.  Do it.  Don’t even think.  A clean break is best.  Hopefully you have studied your evacuation plan in detail.  Towel…GO!  Drying action….GO!  Clothes…GO!  and…GO!   and GO!  and…GO!  and…GO!

[fifteen minutes later]

and…go!  and…go….DONE!  You are now dressed once again, complete with large coat that makes you always appear to need a hug.  Your space heater has missed you.

Until next time, hot water.  We will meet again.

Futon Story

And now, boys and girls, a futon story…

It’s like Toy Story, but with large furniture.

Moving day dawned brightly with the sunshine of despair.  Two car loads of crap and one Lexi equals a lot of grunting, swearing, and general uneasiness.  Normally I park my car in Watertown, where I was moving, and ride the bus in to Harvard Square, and on Sunday I did just that.  Because another girl was moving out, I had to park a bit farther down the street, however, and about three houses down there was a futon on the side of the road.  It was about eight feet long, white, and the cushion didn’t detach from the frame, but it was in very good shape, and I thought to myself that if it were still there later I should see what I can do.

Now it’s later and the futon in question is still there.  I should see what I can do.  Because I don’t have nearly enough to schlep, I eye it and already know what my fate will be.  I look around.  There’s no one.  My first brilliant plan is to move it down the street length-wise by grabbing the far end and rotating it around 180 degrees so that it advances one futon-length every time it rotates, but then I realize that there is a convenient metal bar on the back by which I can drag it relatively easily, and so that is what I do.  I will notice the scrapes later, but for now everything is dandy in my tiny fantasy world that includes a girl and her futon.  Instead of me dragging it, we’re holding hands and dancing in a field of heather.

Going forward once again, the futon is now at the foot of about eight steps that lead to a narrow front door.  I begin to angle it up the steps, but then realize that there’s just no way, and look around again.  I think my neighbor senses danger, for a middle-aged man is doing yard work across the street and trying not to make eye contact.  Bingo.  I approach said middle-aged man and he agrees to help me; it turns out that his son had just moved the day before.  Great, he’s warmed up. 

Being eight feet long and all, my new cherished futon takes some maneuvering, but it’s cool and eventually it lands in the living room, from which it easily slides into my room.

The man leaves, and I thank him profusely.  I think he’ll always remember that day as the day he helped some poor delusional girl with anthropomorphic fantasies move a big-ass but well maintained futon up eight steps, but to me it will be a new beginning.  As I walked into my room and…

[Record player stopping quickly sound effect here]

It turns out that the girl before me left a couch in the room.  I weep softly.

Part 2: Only 1 Coast Now

Because I have been here for so long at this point, I would like to cover the remainder of my journey until now topically.  I will begin with that which is near the forefront of all our hearts: driving.

Driving in Boston is not for the weak-willed, as very little of the process seems to actually encourage arrival at a predetermined destination.  Rather, Boston is designed to break drivers out of their shells and try new things, preferably on the other side of town, or, better yet, in Rhode Island.  Your adventure begins by pulling out of your driveway onto a two-lane highway.  This is easy enough, but some ten minutes later you come to realize that your jaunt along this charming forested community is frought with a sense of peril that is equal to and yet completely different from anything you may find in Los Angeles.  Nestled within an unbreaking line of traffic, you, not wanting to tailgate and sensing imminent danger, leave a nice cushion of ten feet or so between yourself and the vehicle in front of you.  Lurking from the side roads, however, waiting to pounce, are the jackals of the road.  They steal your cushion, rip it apart, and laugh while the feathers are still flying.  But then, while you’re still fuming with the indignation of it all, you see a split in the road ahead.  You begin to ponder the ramifications of this, thinking that surely which fork continues your current route will be apparent somehow.  Surely, either one side will be a wider, clearer choice, or a helpful road sign will point your way.  Getting closer, your frantic gaze burns down the street poles, the lanes, and the Dunkin Donuts to your left, until finally, armed with intuition and a careworn heart, you pick one and choose your fate.  The first tiny road you come to after this naturally has a sign the size of a billboard, and five hundred-point font confirms what your heart already knows: you were wrong.  You turn around and correct this mistake, finally back on track and newly at peace with the universe, which, just to spite you, somehow causes the next intersection to include three major streets. One of these streets is labeled, and, thankfully, it’s even the one you need.  You just need to see it a little closer.  Wait…which…to your almost continuous chagrin, the one street sign is positioned just haphazardly enough to be no help at all.  You look a little closer… are those circular TRACKS going around the pole on which the sign swivels?  Indeed they are, and Screwtape himself put them there for your spiritual downfall.

On the flip side, drivers are very courteous to each other when it comes to lane changes and crossing busy highways or making left turns.  This courtesy is not extended to pedestrians, however, on whom it is always open season, and who sport large invisible targets.  I have not yet figured out the point values around the bullseye, but I think the grand prize may be a bag of pretzels or something.

People.

New Englanders are like a box of chocolates: you know exactly what you’re in for, but you just need to determine which have pure chocolate and which are just nuts so that you can gather the good ones and hide them in your desk and leave what’s left for your coworkers or distant relatives.  Or something like that.  Astoundingly, transportation workers are very nice.  Less astoundingly, much of the general public wants you to go f*** yourself but hides it under the mandatory bland courteous veneer that holds the subconscious in a death grip. 

Next week… another topic.  Stay tuned.