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.

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.

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.

 

The White T-Shirt Debacle of 2014

There are few things I enjoy as much as a fresh pack of plain white undershirts. (Those few things mainly being cheese, Mariah Carey, and water.)

Plain white undershirts are perfect because they have this strange psychological ability to make me feel magically shielded from the harsh realities of the world, and that’s important. They also provide a nice foundation for all my super fashionable real shirts to rest on while ensuring I don’t destroy them with my repugnant perspiration problem.

I don’t have a repugnant perspiration problem; I swear.

So anyway. Last Sunday I was at Target in search of a new package of these miraculous garments and found a five-pack from Hanes that included three bonus shirts. Eight shirts for the price of five, I thought. This is heaven on a stick! So I bought them and went home and slept really well that night with the delightful knowledge that I’d have the blissful pleasure of wearing a fresh undershirt every day that week.

But then. Upon emerging from the shower the next morning and hastily tearing into the tight plastic packaging, I peeled off the first shirt of the bunch only to find that IT WAS REALLY SUPER fucking TINY. It was labeled “Medium” but was in fact extra-extra-extra small.

I wondered if maybe I had gotten really fat and no one told me, or if maybe Hanes had fucked up and accidentally shipped Target a package of miniature doll shirts to sell to humans, or if maybe there was a dark, evil spirit in my midst shrinking my brand new T-shirts and generally trying to sabotage my life (successfully) just for sport. But the truth is that I had accidentally purchased an eight-pack of boys’ shirts.

Like, for children.

shirtdebacle

Is it just me or does it kind of look like a Taylor Swift-esque crop top?

Since I had destroyed the packaging entirely when opening it (because that’s how I do), I decided to just eat the cost of the boy shirts and return to Target the next day for redemption and a second chance at happiness.

I found a five-pack (no bonus shirts for men, though, which frankly I think is rather ageist and fucked up of Hanes, but whatever) and double-checked to make sure they were definitely not for children. They were not, and so I bought them and went home and slept really well that night with the knowledge that I’d at least have the pleasure of wearing a fresh undershirt for the remaining four days of that week.

But then. Upon emerging from the shower the next morning, I excitedly peeled off the first shirt of the bunch only to find that IT was a FUCKING V-NECK TEE and I only wear crew neck tees, and again it was all my fault because I was so fixated on getting a pack of shirts marketed to adults that I had totally forgotten to make sure they had the right kind of neckline.

And so then I just gave up on life and ate, like, eleven donuts.

Luckily my boyfriend loves white V-neck tees (that weirdo), so I was able to fob those off on him, but still, I’m left asking myself how it’s possible that I could be so absent-minded not once but twice in my attempts to buy a simple pack of white T-shirts. What does this say about my attention to detail in other areas of life? What does this say about humans in general? What does this say about America? Why do I still have eight miniature T-shirts in my possession? Why is life so difficult and confusing and crazy and cruel? WHO MOVED MY CHEESE?

I have no answers. Only miniature T-shirts.

 

Help! I Was a Total Asshole to the Girl Who Works at My Favorite Sandwich Shop

I have this routine where I eat healthy-ish throughout the entire week and then reward myself by getting ratchet on Friday night. Then I’ll wake up on Saturday and go straight to this delightful little neighborhood sandwich shop across the street from me and order a bacon, egg, and cheese on a whole wheat bagel with a medium iced coffee, and the ritual of it all (or maybe just the bacon) fulfills me in ways that the unconditional love of another human being a healthy, balanced breakfast never could.

So this past Saturday I hobbled into the sandwich shop at about ten o’clock. Please note that I barely slept the night before, so I was tired and weak and generally struggling to not sound like Christian Bale’s Batman.

  • Me: Hi. I’ll have a bacon egg and cheese on a toasted whole wheat bagel, and—
  • Girl taking my order: A medium iced coffee with milk only? I remember! [Smiles warmly.]

In my head: Oh! This is the moment in which I befriend the girl who works at the sandwich shop because I’ve been here so many times. If this exchange goes well, my future visits will involve her being all, “Hey Nic! How was your week? Getting the usual today?” and I’ll be like, “Yeah, girl!” and we’ll probably live happily ever after (or something).

I wanted to answer her with a self-deprecating and light response to ensure the above fate, maybe something like: “Haha, yep! That’s me. I’m boring and my order never changes. [Chuckle/smile.] Thanks.”

But on this particular morning my brain wasn’t working, because as stated before, I was tired and weak and generally struggling to not sound like Christian Bale’s Batman — so while I tried to formulate a sentence like the one above, I just couldn’t do it on such short notice, and so, fucking THIS ended up happening:

  • Me [Dryly]: Well, I’ve only ordered it about a hundred times, so… good.

WHO SAYS THAT TO SOMEONE? I’m sure this is exactly what I looked like in that girl’s head at that moment:

bageldebacle

After the dust settled, I gave an awkward half-laugh/half-look-of-disgust as I realized that I had responded to her in the way a total asshole – a total asshole for no reason, nonetheless – would have.

Meanwhile, she gave me a look that was half-shocked and half-“Ew, your attitude is fucking gross,” which, really, was generous. Because if the shoe was on the other foot and I was working at a sandwich shop and a customer talked to me like that, I’d have totally been like, “GET OUT OF MY KITCHEN, DICK. AND MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN ICED COFFEE.”

I spent the rest of my time in the shop waiting for my sandwich in what can only be described as a severely uncomfortable state of debilitating embarrassment and shame, which is yet to wear off entirely.

As another Saturday approaches, I find myself fraught with anxiety over how to move on with my bagel-eating life. I’ve narrowed down my options to the following:

  1. Banish myself from this particular sandwich shop (in a dramatic fashion and while listening to that “deception, disgrace” song from the Lion King 2 soundtrack, perhaps) forever.
  2. Continue on as if it never happened and just hope that the girl forgets about it and/or has a forgiving heart and/or has better things to do than give a shit about my antics in the first place.
  3. Explicitly acknowledge the blunder the next time I come in and say something like, “Hey, remember that time I was a total dick to you? Haha, sorry. It was a weird thing where my brain stopped working and couldn’t formulate the kind of sentence I wanted it to, and again, sorry. Sorry! Sorry!! LOVE ME.”
  4. Crawl into a hole and die… ?

Please feel free to cast your vote — and/or offer a better option — in the comments below.

P.S. When I told my brother this story he was like, “Really? You’re putting that much thought into this? Nic, you have issues.” So I guess Option 5 is to agree with him.

P.P.S. When I told my friend Steven this story he was all, “I’d have spit in your bagel if I were her,” and then I was like, “Yeah but can we talk about how difficult it was for ME?! At least she had the luxury of being the victim,” and really I’m only including this exchange here because I find it kind of hilarious but also a little fucked up that it was so easy for me to use “the luxury of being the victim” in a sentence without even a trace of irony, which I guess proves my brother right in that first P.S.

 

Anyone Else Becoming as Unhinged as I Am Lately?

The past few weeks have seen me having more melodramatic breakdowns than usual, and it’s a problem. One second I’ll be all balanced and happy and zen, and then the next I’ll be spiraling into a black hole of fury: arguing that working forty hours a week is bullshit, telling myself that I’M THE SMARTEST PERSON I KNOW, and randomly IMing my friend Steven with nonstop pictures of Mariah Carey alongside her various love interests throughout the years.

Like, the other day I saw this beautiful passage on Louise L. Hay’s Facebook. Basically it’s all about how if we use a tomato plant as an analogy for creating the lives we want, we can be happy. Because we trust tomato plants to grow, and so when our personal tomato plant starts to sprout, we shouldn’t get angry and ask, “WHY AREN’T YOU BIGGER AND BETTER?” but rather we should keep watering it and say, “Woohoo! It’s on its way!”

I read it and thought, That’s how I’m going to live my life from now on.

Then this IM conversation happened after I randomly went off on a tangent to Steven about how I wish I had a year off to eat, pray, love, and finish the millionth third draft of my book:

  • Steven: i feel like you’re on the verge of a breakdown
  • me: dude it’s true
  • Steven: i can feel it
  • Steven: coming in the air tonight
  • Steven: i FEEL it. when your messages get short and sans caps and punctuation and proper capitalization
  • me: there’s just gotta be more to life
  • me: than chasing down every temporary hiiigh
  • Steven: oh god you’re breaking out the Stacy O
  • Steven: every time you do that, you have a crisis of faith
  • Steven: and then you throw shit and start crying
  • me: and the worst part is that I’m lucky to be employed where I am
  • me: and yet
  • me: WHERE’S THE MEANING?
  • Steven tomorrow you’re gonna be all, “we must reach for the stars with our highest energy and smoke our own poz toxins and look out of our third eyes and be the best versions of ourselves”
  • Steven: followed by quoting some zen writer I’ve never heard of
  • me lmao. true

Later that day…

  • me: the issue is simple
  • me: I just need to hold on through this rough patch
  • me: and continue to strive toward creating the life I want
  • me: I’m just getting so fucking impatient
  • me: like… fucking.. WHEN
  • me: but I mean, I know we mustn’t attack our tomato plants
  • me: WHY AREN’T YOU FUCKING GROWING YOU FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT TOMATO PLANT WORTHLESS FUCKING PIECE OF GARBAGE
  • Steven BAHAHA
  • Steven: I’m dying
  • Steven: I think you need to work toward being your best self
  • me: I’d like to be handed everything on a silver platter
  • me: WHERE’s my platter
  • me: omg I’m a fucking abomination
  • me: that’s negative
  • me: I’m a radiant expression of God’s love
  • Steven: I. Am…Dead

So, I don’t know. I guess the one lesson, if any, I’ve gleaned from this whole thing is that if you’re lucky enough to have a tomato plant, don’t be an asshole. Be grateful. Be graceful. Let it grow. And then go make some marinara sauce, maybe? Or: schizophrenically unravel via IM and then blog about it later. That always works too.

tomatoplant

 

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