This Nightmare Drive from Hell Actually Happened

The plan for Friday morning was simple.

  1. Leave New Jersey at 6:30.
  2. Hit up my dental spa in Connecticut for an 8:00 a.m. teeth cleaning.
  3. Get back on the highway and continue driving north up to my hometown.

But this plan was disrupted early on, because some shit got in the way. Literally! Literal, actual shit got in the way. Rain, traffic, and vomit were also involved. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s just start from that first bullet point and work our way down.

It was gross and rainy outside. Graig (boyfriend), Tank (dog), and I left our apartment about 10 minutes late. Not off to a great start — but! We had scheduled a 30-minute traffic buffer anyway, and Waze still promised us an 8:05 arrival time. So I was only mildly stressed out. People are five minutes late to dentist appointments all the time.

From the moment we merged onto the slick highway, traffic was a problem. By the time we approached the George Washington Bridge, we were moving at the pace of a large tree. (Which is to say that we were in fact not moving.) By the time we finally crossed the bridge and traffic cleared up, it was 7:45. Our Waze ETA had updated itself three times by then and had seemed to stabilize at around 8:25. I called my dental spa to let them know I’d be late. They were actually pretty chill about it.

But the rain! The rain was not chill. Even though we were no longer stuck in traffic, the relentless spraying from other cars made it difficult for Graig to see clearly enough to speed. Meanwhile, Tank — a dog — was getting restless. He paced around the back seat and jumped on the center armrest every few miles to check in on us.

tank1

“Remind me again,” Graig eventually said, “why you won’t just find a dentist in Jersey?”

“Because it’s a dental spa,” I replied, as if that explained everything. (Which it actually kind of does; dental spas are rare and delightful.)

We finally crossed into Connecticut at about 8:20, which meant we had just a few short exits to go. It looked like I might actually make it by 8:30 — not ideal, but not wildly egregious given the circumstance.

And then the car suddenly filled up with a putrid odor. A most putrid odor. I knew it had to be a Tank-fart, but it smelled worse than his usual variety — more aggressive, with top notes of dead flesh and rotting garlic. I turned around to yell at him and saw that he was squatting over the seat, assuming his full I’m-about-to-take-a-shit position.

“TANK!” I screamed, hitting him and Graig at the same time. “NO!”

“Don’t shit in my car!” Graig howled, trying to use his free hand to intervene without crashing into a guardrail in the process. The smell was getting stronger. It created a thick fog of pure chaos in the vehicle. “DO NOT SHIT IN MY CAR, TANK!”

We successfully snapped him out of his about-to-take-a-shit stance, but now he was huffing and puffing and kind of foaming at the mouth. I mean, I guess I would be too if I suddenly had to hold in a shit that I had already mentally greenlit for departure. Still, we were concerned. Was he sick? He’s not a shitting-in-the-car kind of dog! He’s a good boy!

As we kept trying to get him to hold it in, he jumped over the armrest into my lap — which I then immediately envisioned covered in dog shit because my mind loves to envision worst-case scenarios against my will.

We knew that making him wait 10 more minutes would be literal animal abuse, so we got off at the very next exit to let him go. Right as we pulled into an empty parking lot, the dental spa called me to see how much longer I would be.

“I’m so sorry,” I said, a carsick bulldog still shaking on top of me as Graig parked. “Probably about ten more min…”

GGGGGGUGHHRUGHHH.

Tank projectile vomited directly onto my legs. It was a macabre scene, but I managed to only let out the quietest little gasp so as not to alarm the dental spa receptionist on the other end of the phone.

“…utes. Would ten more minutes be okay?” I glanced downward, stunned that I had evaded being shat on only to get puked on instead, and finally just admitted defeat. “Actually, I’m sorry. Can we just reschedule?”

Graig looked over at the mess of foamy vomit — most of which ended up on my jeans and not his car — and just started laughing. Fair. I opened the door; Tank jumped out into the rain and peed on a nearby patch of grass. I stepped out and tried to figure out how I’d clean off my jeans without any paper towels or napkins or even tissues. I recalled that Graig keeps Armor All wipes in his backseat.

And then. I opened the back door, looked down, and saw that Tank had somehow ALREADY COVERTLY TAKEN A GIANT fucking DUMP all over the FLOOR when we weren’t looking. No wonder the smell was so repugnant! It wasn’t the smell of a shit that was aborted in the eleventh hour — it was the smell of a shit, period! And it wasn’t solid or neat, either. It was mushy and took up a lot of surface area.

So this was actual hell. I had taken a whole day off just to wake up early and sit in rainy traffic for two hours and miss my dentist appointment and then  get vomited on and then stand outside in the pouring rain while a backseat full of dog shit stared me in the face. It was not spa-like at all.

WHY, GOD? I wondered. WHY?

I called Graig over to show him the crime scene, and he just started cracking up again.

“We actually couldn’t have invented a worse morning if we tried,” he said. “This is incredible.”

He used poop baggies and Armor All wipes to eliminate the waste as best he could until we’d have access to real cleaning tools and chemicals. Meanwhile, I used a combination of rain and a single Armor All wipe to deal with the puke on my jeans. Watching Graig find so much humor in the situation helped me calm down a bit, even though I was still mourning the vision of the harmonious Friday morning I had previously dreamt of for myself.

The three of us finally piled back into the car, soaking wet and making even more of a mess but not caring at all by then. As Graig was about to pull out of the parking lot, Tank puked again — this time all over his backpack in the backseat. We didn’t have any Armor All left, so Graig pulled out a sacrificial pair of boxers from his luggage and used them as an impromptu rag. It was like we were on Survivor.

tank2

As we got further and further into Connecticut, Tank returned to his normal self. He eventually even mellowed out and went to sleep. And then the rain stopped! The storm seemed to have passed. We laughed about it for the rest of the ride home. Even I had to appreciate that the universe wasn’t lazy in its quest to fuck up our morning; it really went all out. I can respect that! But I was also grateful that it wasn’t even worse.

“Imagine if Tank had, like, stepped in his shit while we were still driving?” I asked Graig as we continued our post-debacle discussion. “Imagine Tank’s paws just completely covered in shit, pacing around and jumping all over the car. That would not have been funny at all. That would have just been mean.”

“True,” he said. “We’re very lucky.”

This is How You Gain 20 Pounds of New Relationship Weight in One Year

beforeafter

October 2014. Graig and I meet for our first date on the second of the month and it’s like a total “OMG marry me now, K? K.” situation. The ensuing weeks involve frequent beer-and-wings-marathon sessions that turn into frisky all-nighters, which, as someone who requires a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night, is more than a little problematic. But I’m also euphoric at having finally found the man of my dreams, so mostly I just shout “YOLO!” in the face of my newfound fatigue. I develop a daily empanada craving, usually in the afternoons when the clock strikes four.

November 2014. We’re still riding high on our mutual infatuation, and I have officially accepted that skipping the gym and saying “fuck it” to healthy eating throughout the week will simply be my fate until our honeymoon phase starts to cool down, something I predict will happen just in time for Christmas, maybe.

December 2014. Christmas happens. Mariah Carey happens. Reclaiming my healthy eating and gym-going routine happens. JK! Instead, Graig and I go to football games where we tailgate and consume thousands of beer calories. Also, I randomly get into donuts, which is just silly. “Diet starts Monday after New Year’s!” is my new mantra.

January 2015. LOL. Who thought eating healthy would be a possibility when the Patriots are dominating in the playoffs? We go to every home game. My mantra becomes “Diet starts Monday after the Super Bowl!”

February 2015. THE PATS WIN and so this month is cancelled.

March 2015. IT’S MY 27TH BIRTHDAY and so this month is cancelled.

April 2015. Seven months into our love affair we’re still cruising high on our infatuation with one another, but I decide that I need to make a serious life change after my doctor confirms that I have indeed gained ten pounds. Which, honestly, she didn’t need to tell me because I felt like a blob of shit anyway. But the revelation serves as total motivation, as does the fact that Graig and I have a trip to Aruba slated for May. I randomly go through a deep Sheryl Crow phase and also I start running again, both of which allow me to close out the month feeling vaguely human.

May 2015. I get offered a new job as a full-time writer! It’s exciting and also a reason to celebrate and pig out for an entire month. My start date is June 1, after our decadent Aruba trip (during which I essentially eat the entire island), which happens to be a Monday. Diet starts Monday of my new job!

other

These are a few of my weight-gaining things.

June 2015. This shit is kinda stressful. It’s longer hours and a more difficult commute than I’m used to, so I start sleeping at Graig’s most nights because it’s closer to work. Of course this means that a) having a routine of any kind is basically impossible, and b) I can’t even pretend to go to the gym, because the one I’m a member of is literally fifty miles away. I start eating bagels for breakfast every morning while simultaneously contemplating a self-reinvention as an unapologetically overweight BHM, or big handsome man.

July 2015. It’s summer and I’m fat! I avoid the scale but I am so sure that I’ve gained at least a total of fifteen pounds by now. Clothes are getting tight but I can still more or less fit into them after I empty myself of the tears that go along with realizing my clothes are getting tight.

August 2015. Graig and I are at my best college friends’ condo for a fiesta of sangria and pasta and cigars. As we absorb the beautiful sights from their nature-y back porch, I get up to go to the bathroom. In doing so, a button literally pops off from the waist of my shorts and lands on Graig’s lap. It’s so fucking symbolic I could write a novel (and/or blog post) about it.

September 2015. You know that line in “Summertime Sadness” where Lana Del Rey is all “Nothing scares me anymore”? THAT’S HOW I FEEL. Except replace “scares” with “fits,” as I keep destroying my clothes simply by trying to, like, wear them.

What I’ve learned from this journey so far is that I’m such a (hungry hungry) hypocrite! If you’d asked me in 2014 why I kept a strict diet and gym routine, I’d have probably said, “Because I care about my health and it makes me feel good.” But, well, LOL, nope. It was really just to catch a dick. Humans are basic!

piantz

Those jeans ripped while I was trying to get into a car. It was cute!

October-December 2015. There is an end in sight; maybe we’re not so basic after all! Graig and I moved to a new place together in Jersey. The building has a very nice gym, which, combined with the stability of having a constant home, has allowed us to settle into something of a routine that involves whole wheat english muffins and morning workouts. So here’s to a 2016 that’s, like, healthy or something!

How Not to Lie to Your Boyfriend

The following is a tale of deceit. It involves a milkshake, a car, a cell phone, the seminal 2003 film How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, an inflatable penis pool toy, many bottles of alcohol, and one twisted WEB of dirty motherfucking LIES.

So let’s begin.

Last Thursday night, I had to drive to my hometown in order to be picked up the following morning at 8:00 a.m. for a weekend beach house extravaganza. Before hitting the road, I pigged out on a dinner of boneless Buffalo wings and curly fries (as one does) (when one is a fatass). Because a heaping platter of fried goods does not a balanced meal make, I also decided that a chocolate milkshake would be needed to cleanse my palate during the long drive.

(Side note: Yes, I have a food addiction. I’ve gained twenty pounds of comfort weight over the past year and frankly am just like “fuck it” right now until I can initiate a major life overhaul to reverse the damage, which I currently have loosely scheduled for early-to-mid-October, but who really knows how the fall season will shake (lol) out.)

So I went to Dairy Queen to grab my lil’ shake before hitting the road.

Before I could even merge onto the highway, though, I realized that the DQ guy must have put too much syrup in it or something because it was ridiculously sweet. To the point where it, like, hurt to swallow (no comment). So I put the cup in the center console and vowed not to touch it until I got to my destination and could throw it out.

But old habits die hard (with a vengeance). I found myself reflexively reaching for the shake and mindlessly taking syrupy little sips about every two minutes, which would then make me want to vomit. So after a while I just decided to bend down real quick and place it on the passenger side floor so as to ensure it would be totally out of my reach for the remainder of the ride.

When I finally got home and parked my car, my boyfriend, Graig, called me. “Hey babe, how was the ride?” he asked. “I take it you made it there safely?”

“I did,” I responded, ejecting myself from the vehicle and walking around to the passenger side door to grab my backpack off the seat. “It was actually quite pleas—SHIT! FUCK! Fuck a GOOSE in an AIRPLANE!”

“What’s wrong?!” he asked, audibly rattled by my vulgar outburst.

“I accidently spilled… a Diet Coke,” I answered. “I spilled Diet Coke all over the floor of my car.”

I know what you’re thinking:

  1. What kind of ne’er do well places a drink on a car floor and expects it not to tip over after literally the first pothole?
  2. WHO THE FUCK LIES ABOUT A MILKSHAKE?

Answers:

  1. This kind of ne’er do well.
  2. PEOPLE WHO ARE DEEPLY ASHAMED OF THEIR ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS WITH MILKSHAKES.

“You had a Diet Coke?” Graig asked, knowing that I kicked my Diet Coke addiction years ago. “Why?”

“You know, it was just such a rando craving!” I replied, and then quickly pivoted back into a longwinded rant about the tragedy of the spillage. He bought my story and we each went to bed, separated by two state lines and one thin veil of deceit.

TWO NIGHTS LATER…

The beach house crew (all women plus me) went relatively bananas on our first night, so Saturday was the chill portion of the party. The remnants of the night before — empty beer cans, chips, a floating dick in the pool (above), etc.— surrounded us. We were drunk but mostly exhausted, lazily drinking margaritas on wicker furniture (like the Golden Girls that we are) and watching How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days on the porch TV.

Because How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is a film all about deception and betrayal, I began thinking about my Diet Coke stunt from Thursday. I realized it was the first time in our yearlong relationship that I had ever been dishonest with Graig. And about something so stupid! I thought to myself. Who does that? I don’t want to live a lie!

“Guys,” I said, randomly perking up and addressing the group. “I have a fucked up tale to tell. Are you ready?”

In an effort to get the shame off my chest, I then gave them a dramatic retelling of the incident. We all laughed heartily. Moments later, I noticed that my sister-in-law was looking down and deviously typing on her phone.

“Check your inbox, bitch!” she maniacally chirped when finished.

And then a group text in which she and Graig are both members lit up on my phone.

Hey Graig, remember when Nic told you he spilled Diet Coke in his car? she wrote.

“OH MY GOD, NOOO!” I screamed.

Yup, Graig wrote back.

“SHONDA RHIMES,” I desperately pleaded from the couch. “DON’T DO THIS!”

IT WASN’T DIET COKE, she texted, nefariously dragging the announcement out in a melodramatic, all caps-y fashion as I watched the horror unfold on the screen before me.

Wait, Graig (innocent lil’ Graig) replied. Huh?

She then dropped the bomb: It was a chocolate milkshake. And much to my surprise, the first emotion I felt was not disgust. Rather, I was overcome with a tsunami of relief that my dark secret was finally out in the open.

Playing along with the dramatics of it all, Graig responded with exaggerated shock at first, but then quickly transitioned into an adorable text-soliloquy about how he was “more upset that Nic lied” than the fact that I drank a milkshake, and that he “knew something was up” because “Nic never drinks Diet fucking Coke.”

And so a brand new lesson that nobody’s ever learned before was revealed: lying hurts people and is bad for relationships. Even when it stems from a shameful place of milkshake-addiction.

In (about thirty seconds’) time, Graig ultimately forgave me. And now we’re moving into a new apartment together next week! (This was technically already in the works, but whatever.) The place is in Jersey and I refuse for our new home to be built on a foundation of lies, so I am thanking God that there aren’t any Diary Queens in the neighborhood. Also, we will now have a beautiful pool, into which I plan on bringing the inflatable penis basically every day next summer. So this tale has a very happy ending, which is good.

All We Wanted Was to Watch Some Damn Golf

On Saturday my boyfriend Graig and I went on a beautiful eight-mile walk along the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. It was scenic, serene, far removed from the city, and this is apropos of nothing but I’m currently writing this blog post from the train and the man to my left is eating a very aromatic banana.

ALL I CAN SMELL IS BANANA RIGHT NOW.

Waiting for it to be over.

Keyshia Cole.

Okay, he’s done.

So after our walk, we ended up at what is steadfastly becoming my favorite bar/restaurant ever — a picturesque, waterfront tavern in a park where wealthy middle-aged humans like to hang out and heterosexual couples like to get married. (Why this recipe somehow spells out “Comfort Zone!” for me is its own sad problem, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Everything was going great at first. I had a Landshark Lager in one hand and a lobster roll in the other. There were also many oysters involved. We were watching the Masters on the bar’s only television, and I was inexplicably invested in every nuance of the event.

Love shocking my friends.

Love shocking my friends w/ my golf knowledge.

Things took a dark turn later in the day, though, and by the end of the night we ended up in a weird situation where our bartender hated us and wished us dead in her head, and yes, I just rhymed.

Something to note here is that I am cripplingly afraid of confrontation and/or ever saying anything that could even vaguely paint me as an asshole to a waitperson. I don’t say things like, “I’ll have some more water,” as my subconscious seems to believe that only a total dick would make such a demand. Instead I say, “Um. So. Can I have some more water, p-p-please?” in a very high, mouse-like voice. It’s embarrassing for everyone involved and really I’m sure waiters hate me even more for making it weird than they would if I just asked for water outright like a normal citizen, but whatever, this post isn’t even about water, so let’s just move on, Jesus.

Somewhere around Jordan Spieth’s seventh hole of the day, the lunch bartender decided that “nobody cares about golf” and changed the station. This caused a panic between Graig and I, but luckily with a very polite/awkward request (see above paragraph) we were able to get him to put the golf back on (and also bring us more oysters, which are delicious and bring me joy and should really just be called joysters IMHO).

joysters

But then.

An hour later we were forced to close out our tab with the lunch bartender and start a new one with his replacement, a sassy blonde girl with crunchy shoulder-length hair and baby blue nail polish. Immediately upon starting her shift, she grabbed the remote and proclaimed, “I don’t wanna watch golf!

“Bitch, you got some neeerve!” is what I absolutely did not say to her but should have.

Luckily, the outgoing bartender did the dirty work for us and whispered to her that we were invested in the men on the screen in the pants and the shirts with the metal rods and the balls. (I should have known that writing about golf would swiftly turn into erotica.)

She looked annoyed but changed it back, and then proceeded to pretend that Graig and I didn’t exist for the rest of the evening. Like, she was being a total gem to everyone else at the bar — engaging in friendly small talk, smiling, generally being a non-dick – but every time we tried to flag her down for another round it was like getting the attention of an angsty teen in possession of a smartphone and very severe resentment issues.

We managed to get the bar-back to get her to get us drinks when we could, but overall we just felt vehemently hated yet entirely invisible at the same time.

Once the final hole of the day was shot, we decided it was time to vacate and go somewhere where we weren’t de facto lepers. We tried for ten minutes to get the crunchy hair bitch’s attention—in what was not a crowded bar at all, I might add!—but she kept avoiding our hand gestures and actively sought out patrons to engage in lighthearted banter with instead.

“What’s wrong with us?” I asked Graig. “Are we THAT hate-able?”

“Apparently,” he said. “Should we just do a dine and dash?”

Before we could fully contemplate the option, a spunky woman in a mini jean jacket randomly approached us from behind.

“Hi guys,” she started as we turned around. She was pointing to another girl across the bar. “Do you see my friend over there? What do you think of her?”

“I don’t know her personally, so I ought not to form an opinion based purely on her physical appearance, because to quote alt-R&B songstress Janelle Monáe, who will tweet this two days into the future, a woman’s body is ‘not for male consumption,'” is another thing I did not say in response but should have.

“She’s a dish!” is yet one more. (Because Titanic.)

“She’s super pretty,” is what I actually said, trying to sound stereotypically gay enough for her to realize that she was barking up two entirely homosexual trees. But somehow I failed. (I blame the golf.)

“So why have neither of you hit on her yet? Come on, guys!”

Graig then jumped in and cut to the chase: “Actually, we’re boyfriends.”

And then the girl was all, “Oh my God, really? We’re lesbians! I just wanted to boost my girlfriend’s self-esteem and also try to play you guys for some free drinks.”

…WHO THE FUCK?

“Well, even if we wanted to buy you drinks we couldn’t because the bartender is very mean…” I started to say to her, but then her girlfriend stormed out of the establishment in an emotional tizzy and she abruptly chased after her before anyone could even say bye.

I felt bad for the girlfriend, who was clearly having a rough time in this Bar of Broken Dreams. I wondered if maybe she just needed to feel sexy for a moment, as her GF obviously sucked at satisfying that need on her own. Or maybe she was dehydrated because the bartender was being a vindictive goblin to them, too. Or — wait! Perhaps the whole thing was just an elaborate ruse designed to enable THEM to ACTUALLY DINE AND DASH. You know what? Those lesbians were evil geniuses.

Meanwhile, Graig and I ended up waiting another ten minutes for the bill, which we paid, because we plan on going back for the U.S. Open.

 

How to Survive the Internet

Remember AOL? When a profile was a thing with like five questions (“Marital Status: LQQKING”) and a space for a personal quote? In sixth grade I remember my high school-aged cousin wrote “a weekend wasted is not a wasted weekend” for his PQ, and I didn’t even get it but I thought he was the “kewl”-est, so I put it in mine too (right next to an Erykah Badu lyric that I thought sounded sophisticated but didn’t realize was about the spiritual complexity of being a woman).

Then there were the “hometown” webpages! Mine was filled with shiny bubble letters (which totally required knowledge of ~HTML~) and those weird slutty avatar things. How anyone didn’t detect my gayness is a mystery, but that’s neither here nor there.

Nothing during those AOL days was ever here or there, and that’s what was so wonderful about it. Nothing mattered. It was all so safe and vacuum-y and intimate. You could log in and log out, knowing that you were always pretty much aware of everything you needed to be aware of, because really there was nothing to be aware of anyway. Save for maybe your forty or so buddies’ profiles. (OMG, was I a loser?)

But now we have this information overload situation. Today’s Internet is all about making the world a better place generating money and expressing outrage and displaying sad, dark thoughts for the world (see: no one) to read and humble-bragging and think-piecing and time-wasting and lots of other things but mostly generating money. It can (Taylor) swiftly turn into a soul-sucking place if you let it.

This is especially true for those people who want to feel like they have a grasp on shit. Because unlike AOL Hometown, one can never have a grasp on today’s actual Internet. Obviously! I know.

But how often do you still feel like you’re trying anyway? How often do you try to get to a point online where you’re like, “Okay, I’m fully aware of everyone out there who wants the same things as me, and I can totally take all of them on”? (#SelfObsession.) How often do you find yourself with twenty tabs open only to work through all of them and then feel LITERALLY LIKE YOUR SOUL HAS BEEN PUNCHED IN THE FACE?

(Do souls even have faces?)

I un-followed about two-hundred Twitter accounts last week.

And! It was such an Emancipation of Mimi moment. With a simple Twitter cleanse, the mental curse of the Internet becomes a million times more manageable and less draining. I now wonder why I even bothered reading half of the shit I used to in the first place. Like, why did I ever even follow Gawker? All that site ever did was make me feel like a loser for not being as “clever” (/snarky/bitter/troll-y) as its writers, and also like there was no reason to ever be positive about anything at ALL, EVER, which is a fun way to live. (Except not.)

Ugh, Internet snark. There is just so damn much of it. And it’s so contagious. Especially if you’re smart. Especially if you’re frustrated with just about anything in life. It’s so gross. Except for when it isn’t and it’s just hilarious. Bah! Snark is such a contradiction-inducing topic of ugh-ness for me. I love it! But I hate it. Everyone is such an asshole. But sometimes that’s the perfect thing to be? I don’t know.

Surviving the Internet means constantly reminding yourself that it is so not real.

I suck at remembering this, because social media especially targets this weird, #basic corner of the brain that thrives on attention and validation and empty communication and self-identification and instant gratification and comparison — and it’s addicting someTIMES, you GUYS!!! It’s like being wasted on some kind of fruity vodka drink that tastes super sweet going down but then makes you want to vom about an hour and a half later.

But social media can do so much good. Spreading positive messages and shit. It has turned my mood around on many an occasion — whether seeing someone else’s inspirational post or getting feedback on one of my own. Of course the same things have turned my mood in the exact opposite direction on more than a few occasions, too. So again I don’t know.

Can we talk about fan armies? They are frightening.

Who even are they???

Whenever I make the mistake of exploring the online world of fandoms (#BeyHive, #Grandtourage, #Swifties, etc.) I always come out of it super sad and afraid for the millions of people who worship other humans for no reason and live in these, like, delusional states of wishing that one day they’ll be validated for good by the Internet celebrity of their choice with the magical power to make all problems go away forever.

But then fandoms can also be a crazy beautiful modern phenomenon of community. Yet another paradox of the Internet!

It can be tricky for the Internet celebrities themselves, too. I randomly met Frankie Grande the other day and we were talking about his Big Brother journey and at one point he sighed and was just like, “People love to assign their own versions of my story to me.”

It made me think deeply for like, two seconds, but then I just couldn’t WAIT to tweet/Insta a pic of us together.

1505615_987815642952_1339509402112731406_n

Because I’m a hypocrite, duh! I want to be Internet-popular toooo.

Which is just silly, because if there’s anything to be learned from this post it is that the Internet isn’t going to solve any problems that you can’t solve yourself (except for when you need to find out Zac Efron’s height, maybe) — but it just may create new ones.

Surviving the Internet is to accept this fact. It’s taking the pressure off, signing the fuck out whenever possible, and knowing when it’s time to focus on something real in life. Because as unremarkable as you think real life might be sometimes, it’s all any of us actually have. And when it comes to the fruity vodka drink that is today’s Internet, a weekend wasted really is a wasted weekend.

 

Solving the Mystery of My Taylor Swift Dreams

Since last fall, I have been dreaming about hanging out with Taylor Swift.

And I’m not talking about, like, wishing she and I might one day spend time together. No. I’m being literal. I’m talking about the fact that every time I’ve closed my eyes and drifted into REM over the past four months, one Taylor Alison Swift has somehow found a way to insert herself into the picture.

Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a fan. I was a fan before she became a global phenomenon who sold 1.287 million albums in a week—back when it was only like 1-point-zero-something million, even! Her entire canon, from her self-titled debut on, has nursed me through more breakups and life crises over the past eight years than any grown man should ever admit to on the Internet. (And yet here we are.)

So it is not without acknowledging the creepiness of my current situation that I share it with you. I’m vividly dreaming about a woman I don’t know but whose work I devour; it’s stalkerish. My subconscious is a stalker. It probably eats cheese and owns binoculars and doesn’t shower.

***

In my dreams, Taylor Swift and I are usually hanging out in a hotel room or a Starbucks or sometimes both. Once, we waited in line for coffee while listening to music on an iPod Classic together with a single set of headphones, using one speaker each, like best (ear!) buds. It was sweet.

But there’s a subtle dark side to the dreams, too, which comes in the form of a recurring shtick in which Taylor knowingly makes normal-people decisions for the both of us while I openly resent her for not using her celebrity status to get us special treatment.

For example, Dream-Taylor and I once ordered three hundred dollars’ worth of room service and she made us split the bill!

“Seriously, you millionaire?” I sassily asked her while reaching for my wallet. “You couldn’t pull some strings?”

She just stared at me until I woke up, at which point my tune had changed to something more like, “Wait. FINE! I’ll pay for half. I’ll pay for it all! BE MY FRIEND,” which is sad.

***

There’s one dream in particular that takes the cake. And not only because we ate cake in it. (Although we did indeed.)

It was New Year’s Eve and Taylor and I were invited to a big party at a venue with steps in front of it. There was also a fountain. It was kind of like a dream-combination of the New York Public Library, the Met, and Washington Square Park. Oh, you know what? I think it was actually Lincoln Center! But I digress.

Taylor and I showed up on the steps in our fanciest going-out clothes (Tom Brady jersey for me; ’50s bathing suit for her), but we were late and the party was over.

“What are we going to do now?” I asked my slender sidekick, exasperated.

“Let’s drive around and find something to do,” she chirped in response. “It’s New Year’s Eve!”

And then a slightly rotund hipster appeared out of nowhere and offered us a ride, which was nice and all, but suddenly there were four other people in our group and the slightly rotund hipster’s car was a tiny sedan with manual windows.

Taylor didn’t care, though, because she called shotgun—leaving the remaining five of us to squish together in the backseat like a bunch of freakin’ animals in coach! (Coach: what I’m sure Dream-Taylor flies.)

I cursed her in my dream-head, wondering why she didn’t just call a limo company and say, “I’m Taylor Swift. I’d like to order a deluxe party bus. Here’s my credit card information, which is under the name of my cat Olivia so as to preserve anonymity, thank you, good DAY!”

But she didn’t do that, the inconsiderate dream-bitch.

Eventually we all ended up in a big parking lot/alley area not unlike the music video set for *NSYNC’s “Girlfriend.” Taylor and I were vaping in a corner with some kind of sour green apple-flavored e-juice and talking about how we both really thought the everyone-going-to-jail ending of Seinfeld was criminal. “No pun intended!” she cooed as I let out an unreasonably hearty laugh. It was all so real. I can still see the green apple liquid bubbling in the vape pen of my mind.

***

There are myriad reasonable explanations for whatever it is in my subconscious that causes these dreams to happen, a few of which may even have some kind of deeper meaning and/or lesson attached. But I’d like to discount all of them for the following conspiracy theory:

I’m being haunted.

You see, last fall during a trip to the Catskill Mountains with some friends for Oktoberfest, I encountered the below mannequin at a local antique shop.

_20150204_215202

1989? More like 1782!

Upon revisiting this photo four months later, it has become clear to me that this is obviously a Taylor Swift-impersonating mannequin-demon-ghost-of-yore with nefarious intentions. It must have latched on to me that day in the antique shop purely to haunt my dreams for no good reason (other than the fact that I outed the bitch on Instagram).

I mean, it all makes so much sense. How else to explain the selfish, miserly tendencies? Everyone knows that the real Taylor Swift showers her fans with surprise gift packages and student loan payments. How else to explain the splitting of the headphones? Everyone knows that mannequins are deaf in their left ears. (The vaping remains shrouded in mystery, but I’ll take two out of three.)

Looks like my subconscious isn’t the creepy one after all!

So. In the tradition of facing one’s demons, I’d like to directly address the evil Taylor Swift-impersonating old-timey mannequin ghost right now, once and for all: I know what you’re up to, and I’d like you to stop. Go haunt someone else. Maybe John Mayer? Better yet, go audition for a haunted house. Take up knitting! I don’t care. Just, whatever you do, GET OUT OF MY DREAMS. (Get into my car.)

***

P.S. THAT LAST LINE WAS JUST A BILLY OCEAN JOKE. DO NOT GET INTO MY CAR, BECAUSE I KNOW YOU WOULD ONLY HAUNT IT AND ALSO PRESUMPTUOUSLY CALL SHOTGUN WHILE FORCING THE REST OF US TO UNCOMFORTABLY SQUEEZE INTO THE BACKSEAT. GOOD DAY.

Three Things I’ve Learned from Being in a New Relationship

The last long-term relationship I was in ended in early 2010. Obama was still in his first term, Mariah Carey was yet to be impregnated with fraternal twins, and I had crabs a Blackberry. I was barely out of college and about to start grad school, which is to say that I was young and a total dumbass. So the fact that I’ve been in a new relationship for nearly four months now – as, like, an adult/non-dumbass – has led to a few interesting self-revelations.

Let us pray explore them!

1. I don’t care about social media as much as I thought I did. When my BF and I first met, he was a very, very private person. I mean, he still is, but he’s now out of the closet to his friends and close family members for the first time ever, which, considering the fact that he’s a macho Wall Street dude with three decades of “straightness” behind him, is kind of a huge deal. Needless to say, his weird privacy fetish was challenging for me at first, given that I am the quintessence of an over-sharing blogger with a set habit of documenting way too much shit on soche meed (sp?).

But I’ve learned this: the hippies/Luddites/old people are right! Going on adventures and falling in love with someone while being present in the moment truly is better than bragging about accomplishments on Facebook. WHO THE FUCK KNEW?

Also, a bonus. My boyfriend’s text inbox is the perfect place to send meaningless selfies when I think I look great but don’t want to saturate Instagram with my [#gorgeous] face for absolutely no reason. It’s also the best place to send unsolicited pictures of my various Chiptole orders.

IMG_20150120_104214

2. Turns out I’m actually okay with dick pics, as long as I’ve known the recipient for a minimum of three months and have been in a committed relationship with him for at least two of them. I used to be super anti-that dick pic life, but when I was drunk on Christmas day at my dad’s house last month, I randomly found myself thinking about my boyfriend while I peed in the bathroom. Huh, I thought as I looked down, I bet he’d love a pic of this right now. Snap!

(Of course I shook vigorously and stepped away from the toilet area entirely before taking the pic. What do you think I am, an animal?!)

(Although now that I think about it, I definitely didn’t wash my hands first. Sorry to those who’ve touched my phone within the past month! You’ve totally Six-Degrees-to-Kevin-Bacon-touched my…bacon.)

3. I’m no longer a crazy psycho! My past two serious relationships took place during a time when I was even younger and messier than I am now. Though they each lasted over a year, they were dysfunctional and combative (and pretty much fucked) from the one-month mark on. Which is ridiculous, when you think about it. Like, why stick around for eleven more months if after the first one you’re already screaming at each other and crying and having more hate-sex than normal-sex?

Because you’re a crazy psycho, that’s why.

But in this relationship so far, I’m self-aware. And so is he! In four months I have yet to analyze a text message for hours or scream “WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME?!” in a manic Beyoncé-voice at him or throw a dirty skillet at his face without warning. We communicate and express our feelings but mostly just laugh and act like little kids with mild behavioral problems. We’re a lot more like best friends and a lot less like two people who share a mutual, hate-generating belief that the other should have solved all our problems by now but haven’t. It’s great, and something I suspect can only happen with ample amounts of age and survival of past bullshit. And that’s the biggest revelation of all, right? That new relationships – when they’re good and right and full of promise – are not supposed to be hard, which sounds simple, I think, because it is.

 

I Need to Stop Swallowing Things

December 2014. ‘Tis the night before Christmas and about twenty bacon-wrapped scallops rest menacingly on a white porcelain serving tray in the buffet area of a festive celebration. They appear to be delicious. Succulent. I love succulent. I grab one with my dirty Christmas-Eve fingers and quickly pop the whole thing into my mouth, enacting a sort of self-inflicted reverse five-second rule. And, oh! It is delicious. It is succulent.

At first.

But then I notice that the bacon is extra, extra tough. Jesus, I think to myself as I vigorously chomp my way through the remaining shred of it that just won’t budge. Is this bacon or is this, like, really fucking old beef jerky?

Jesus doesn’t respond, presumably because it is approaching midnight on his (His?) birthday, which means he’s probably busy pre-gaming with some sheep/shepherds/disciples and is drunk on homemade wine/Fireball shots/whatever the good shit is that they only serve in heaven.

So I finally get that last piece of extra-hard bacon down a few minutes later and go back to enjoying the company of family and friends. Some time passes before I return to the scallop tray. They still look delicious and succulent, but are now tainted with the recent memory of having had to chew on a single piece of stubborn-ass pig for minutes on end, so I’m almost like, Ugh, not worth it. But then I’m like, Eh, fuck it. It’s Christmas and I should be grateful to have a bacon-wrapped scallop in the first place, even if the bacon is absurd and requires inordinate amounts of chewing.

As I reach for the new one, I notice something I didn’t before. The scallops all have TOOTHPICKS in them! Short, inconspicuous, bitchy little toothpicks that barely peek out from the hors d’oeuvres in which they dwell. Short, inconspicuous, bitchy little toothpicks, ONE OF WHICH I have most likely just EATEN!

But I have to be sure. So I remove a toothpick from a new scallop and eat it, and guess what? The bacon is as tender as a fucking Babyface song from 1996. It goes right on down with minimal chewing effort, thereby confirming that I currently have a chewed-up toothpick wreaking havoc inside my fragile little 6’3” body.

toothpick

In the past, if someone were ever to have asked me how I’d react if I found out I’d just accidentally ingested a toothpick, I’d definitely have said, “Well this is an irrelevant question; only a total dumbass would accidentally ingest a toothpick.” But I can now say that a) I am a total dumbass, and b) my natural reaction to finding out I’ve just accidentally ingested a toothpick is to freak out in the car with my mom as she treats the whole thing with an alarming amount of nonchalance.

  • Me: “How are you so calm right now? Your son just ate a piece of fucking WOOD! What is this going to do to my insides?!”
  • Mom: “First of all, it’s not wood. And second of all, you’ll be fine.”
  • Me: “How do you know I’ll be fine?”
  • Mom: “It’s a toothpick! People have shit out diamonds before and survived.”
  • Me: “Have you ever shit out a diamond?”

And then I realized that I had just asked my mother if she’d ever shit out a diamond, which is usually a pretty clear indicator that a conversation has gotten a little off track. (For the record, though, she never has shit out a diamond. Though she did give birth to me, which I’d like to think counts for something since everybody knows that I shine bright like a diamond and also am many a girl’s best friend.)

I texted my boyfriend (of three months; I promise I’ll post something with more details for you guys REAL SOON because he’s amazing… but right now this story must be told) when I got home and explained my dilemma to him. He too was convinced that this was not a big deal, saying that he swallowed much worse than a toothpick during his wild college days, and for a second I wanted to be all, “TELL ME EVERYTHING,” but then I was like, You know what? I actually don’t wanna know.

So I just went to sleep.

The next morning the BF and I talked a little more about my situation and then I sent him a bathroom selfie in which I stood sexily in front of the mirror in my cute little boxer briefs, with the caption: “About to confront my toothpick problem!”

And then I realized that I had basically just sent my boyfriend a selfie saying “GONNA GO SHIT [OUT A TOOTHPICK] NOW,” which is always a great way to set the mood with your significant other on Christmas morning.

He didn’t respond for about fifteen minutes, during which period I wondered if I had officially crossed the gross-line with him, but then he responded with the IPhone poop emoji and a thumbs up, so I figured I was fine.

So anyway, enough about poop! The moral of this whole story is that I survived. The toothpick came, the toothpick went, and now my life has resumed to normal and I’m blogging about having eaten and digested a toothpick on Christmas Eve, and I’m pretty sure this is the “Circle of Life” that Elton John sang about in The Lion King. Happy 2015.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,504 other followers

%d bloggers like this: