Tell Me Again Why We’re All So Competitive?

My daily morning journey typically consists of the following three checkpoints: Gym, train station, work. (Think GTL but with less sunburn risk and more general real-world bleakness.)

My gym (which is actually just a workout room conveniently located in my low-rise apartment building – which, yes, I realize has everything to do with my forthcoming complaint) is about the size of an airplane bathroom. So when there are more than a couple residents in it at the same time, the competition for machines is fierce. Like, RuPaul’s-Drag-Race-with-a-side-of-Scar-from-The-Lion-King fierce.

And then there’s the Metro-North train, which I take from Connecticut into New York City. I start out standing amidst a sea of fellow commuters on the platform, all of us solitarily minding our own business – maybe even bopping our heads along to whatever motivational morning music happens to be blasting through our headphones on any given weekday (angsty female country for me, please!) – but then the train shows up and the scene turns into the freakin’ Hunger Games as everyone tries to push and shove their way inside first to snag a coveted three-seater.

And then there’s work, which… Well. I work in Manhattan. Enough said.

And so I don’t mean to sound whiny, but seriously – why? I get that there are only so many machines in a gym, and only so many seats on a train, but I can’t help but sense that all of this speaks to a much larger issue at hand.

The first time I heard about the dreary concept of a “scarcity mentality,” I was watching a conversation between Marianne Williamson and Oprah on Super Soul Sunday, in which they talked about pie. (Metaphorically, mostly. I think?) You see, pies are cut into slices, of which there can only be so many, and so if someone else gets a slice, then we might not get a slice for ourselves, and so therefore – thanks to pie – we are all conditioned to be in competition with everyone for everything.

Fun!

Except not, because exhaustion. (And disappointment. And detachment. And disenchantment. And… I could keep going with the D-words, really, but I’ll stop now before I get carried away and spiral into what Mariah Carey would call a “woe-is-me diva on a tangent moment.”)

So back to Super Soul. Marianne and Oprah eventually got to talking about how the rules that exist for physical things (like pie) don’t necessarily hold true when applied on a spiritual level. Which means that, on a spiritual level, we can ALL. HAVE. PIE. We can even have multiples slices of pie! We can have multiple pies! (If you’re into that kind of thing.) It doesn’t matter.

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You get a pie! You get a pie! YOU get a pie! (Also, a doughnut, it seems.)

When I watched this conversation for the first time, it resonated deeply. I felt liberated, like a lifetime of restrictive thoughts and dead weight had been lifted off my shoulders. This means I can let go of my irrational fear that all the authors in all the land are going to publish their (subpar) books before I do! I proclaimed to myself. There’s room for us all!

But then I kept running into roadblocks on my path to publication, which forced me to recognize that I always seem to love new age wisdom when things are going my way – but then bitterly return to Self-Pity Central once something (a literary rejection, for instance) comes along and screws with my plans.

Still, though, one has no choice but to recover and continue growing. And as I get older, I can feel the moments of self-pity lessening in both frequency and intensity. I can feel myself getting more and more confident in the fact that there is an infinite amount of pie – if we just have the right perception of it.

In other words, the pie probably isn’t the thing we need to compete for. I mean, how many times do we learn this? Me, I competed against a lot of people to get into a super-selective graduate program four years ago – and I got in! And? It didn’t make all my problems go away. Then I competed against a lot of people to get an internship at a hip television network – and I got it! And? It didn’t make all my problems go away. Then I competed against even more people to turn that internship into a full-time job – and I got it! And? It totally made my problems disappear once and for all. LOL — kidding. It actually created a cute little army of brand new ones.

And so it seems that the task isn’t to get consumed with competition for the things we think we need to complete us (be it a treadmill, seat on the train, job, or book deal), but rather to redefine what the pie is in the first place. Is it something that other people – “decision-makers” – have the power to control for us? Or is it something that we can control and generate from within? Does it require external validation? Or just a little self-love?

Some combination of all of the above?

Frankly, I’m still trying to figure it all out myself. But the one thing I do know for sure is that whatever it is, it’s not going anywhere. And we don’t have to compete with anyone to get it.

 

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This is What Happens When I Best Man a Wedding

Yes, I just used “Best Man” as a verb in the title of this post. It’s a thing now, and you’re welcome.

So. After throwing an epic three-night, thirteen-man bachelor party at a rented house in Vermont last fall (the details of which I can’t get into for legal reasons), getting fitted for a tux while awkwardly asking the salesman, “So, what’s your perspiration policy?” (he just looked at me weird and said, “We clean them”), and sneaking my way into my now-sister’s bachelorette party in December by flashing everyone with my GC (Giant Co.. Gay Card) – my brother got married a few weeks ago. And! It was the best day.

Like, ever.

The fun started the night before at the rehearsal, where this conversation took place between two bridesmaids (whom I will refer to as Hilary and Amy) and myself:

  • Nic: Hey Hilary, wanna hear something hilarious? My aunt told my stepmom earlier that she thought I “had eyes for you.”
  • Hilary: Ha! Wait. Your aunt doesn’t know you’re gay?
  • Nic: I mean, it’s not like I hide it. I just don’t think she realizes that gay people exist in real, everyday life. Like, she’ll probably find out about me when we’re at my wedding.
  • Amy (joining the conversation): Oh hey, you have one too?!
  • Nic: What? No. I don’t. I’m not getting married. [Laughs uncomfortably.] I mean, I am getting married. I hope. Eventually. Just not any time soon. Gotta find the right guy first. All the ones I meet seem to fall short in one way or another, and I’m at the point where’s it’s like, I’m not in a rush to meet The One anymore, because where’s the fun in that? Plus I don’t wanna settle for less, y’know?
  • Amy (pointing to my left ear): I was talking about your cartilage piercing.

So that was awesome.

The ceremony the next day was also awesome, although there was a minor debacle when I went to deliver flowers to the bride in her dressing room and was cornered by the photographer, who asked to borrow the rings – allegedly for the purposes of taking artful pictures, but probably more so because she gets some kind of twisted joy out of making other people anxious – and then disappeared.

After five minutes passed, I started slightly freaking out at the realization that it was twenty minutes to showtime and my brother was waiting for me. So I bid adieu to the bridal party and luckily was able to find the photographer in a hallway, regain possession of the rings, and step outside to get back to the main church.

Except now it was raining and I didn’t have an umbrella, so I was like, “SHIT.” I went back inside and asked the photographer if there was an indoor route to the church that I didn’t know about and she was all, “I dunno.” So then I was like, “SHIT,” again, and just decided to run the few steps there.

And then, as I was approaching the entrance to the church, I slipped.

AND I PLUMMETED.

I was clearly touched by an angel, though, because I managed to make my hands hit the ground first. So it mostly just looked like I was doing a spontaneous and highly awkward military pushup (on a rainy church sidewalk, in a tuxedo) for a second. I also managed to quickly retrieve the rings (which, by the way, had also plummeted and were dangerously close to a sewer… I know. Can you IMAGINE?) and put them safely in my pocket.

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One would never know I had just almost ruined the entire wedding (and my ruggedly handsome face) with a single plunge.

And after that, everything went smoothly.

I pranced into the reception to En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind” while the Maid of Honor whipped me (literally), I rocked the Best Man speech (by “rocked,” I mean I got up in front of everyone and went on a long-winded verbal tangent about how my brother is a guy who exemplifies love and I am a guy who spent most of the nineties making Mariah Carey-themed scrapbooks), and I made sure everyone got really, really drunk – which, given our network of friends and family, didn’t actually require too much effort on my part, but still.

The whole thing was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that make you stand back, look at your life, and say, “Holy shit. This is it. This is what matters.” It’s like, we can get so caught up in our daily routines – coffee, soul-sucking jobs, petty arguments, super important life-or-fucking-death (just kidding, I mean petty again) arguments, social media, Mariah Carey’s mental health (okay, maybe that’s just me?), the fucking weather, etc. – that it’s easy to start believing that the stuff that doesn’t matter, matters. But then something reminds you that it doesn’t.

Over time, I’ve found that meditation and books and — frankly — wine are good at helping me get to that place of transcending the bullshit. Celebration and love and family are even better.

And Best Man-ing is, of course, the best.

 

Recent Conversations I’ve Had About the BEYONCÉ Visual Album

With my writing pal Steven:

  • Nic: Dude. I have listened to nothing else for weeks. I stayed home today because of the snow and ended up just sitting on my couch watching the videos in sequential order. Over and over again. For many hours.
  • Steven: Has anyone ever told you that you have an obsessive personality?
  • Nic: I just can’t stop. It’s like I’ve been sucked into a black hole.
  • Nic: The black hole that is Beyoncé’s vagina.
  • Nic: I’M TRAPPED IN BEYONCÉ’S VAGINA.
  • Steven: You’re scaring me.

With my work-wife Mila:

  • Mila: Try watching the videos while eating like a fat pig.
  • Mila: You will feel so inadequate.
  • Nic: I just don’t get how these videos can be so perfect.
  • Nic: And there’s SO MUCH SEX.
  • Mila: I know!
  • Nic: And all of this sex is with a man she’s been with for years and is married to, so it’s super classy. Like, Beyoncé is singing about giving a raunchy limo blowjob and meanwhile I’M the one who is made to feel like a dirty, inferior slut for having multiple partners.
  • Mila: I KNOW!

With myself:

  • Nic: Two more viewings of “Drunk In Love” and then I’ll shower.
  • Nic: Okay, maybe three.
  • Nic: SURF BORDT!
  • Nic: Four.
  • Nic: After the fifth one, I swear I’m going to get my shit together and do something productive with my life.
  • Nic: Fuck it.
  • Nic: Six.

With God:

  • Nic: THANK YOU FOR CREATING THIS WOMAN IN YOUR IMAGE.
  • God: You’re welcome.
  • God: …Surf bordt.

 

I Had Strep and then Got Touched Inappropriately by a Large Bear, Kind Of

On the Sunday before the Sunday before Christmas (are you with me?), after a long day of football-watching and beer-drinking, I passed out at ten at night. Then I woke up at one in the morning and couldn’t fall back asleep. So naturally I stayed up and watched DVR-ed episodes of Super Soul Sunday all through the night until skipping my way to the gym with an inexplicable amount of energy at about five. Then I went to work, drank a gallon-ish of coffee, crashed sometime shortly after lunch, and proceeded to watch my health violently deteriorate at a staggering pace over the following two days until I was eventually forced to go to the doctor where I tested positive for strep.

The weird thing is that it wasn’t the sore throat that bothered me so much. It was more so the severe headache that lasted for forty-eight hours and was accompanied by this weird hot and cold sensation that I’ve since been told is what normal people refer to as a “fever.” I apparently hadn’t had one in so many years that I didn’t even realize what the oft-overused term actually referenced, and yes, I realize that this makes me sound about as smart as Jessica Simpson circa the “Chicken or Fish?” Incident of 2003. Totally oblivious, I aggressively blamed my office environment – alternating between the phrases, “Why is it always so fucking freezing in here?!” and, “UM, WHICH ONE OF YOU JOKESTERS TURNED THE HEAT UP TO EIGHTY?” – until a doctor told me that my temperature was 102 degrees. Then everything clicked, and I was like, “Oh. So that’s what that is.”

Though I initially wanted to address my illness with some healing affirmations and health-positive mantras, the doctor was super anti-that. So I listened to her, and as it turns out, drugs are the fucking best. I got some prescription pain meds along with a cycle of penicillin, and by Christmas Eve I was healthy and drunk and joking with my soon-to-be-married brother and his fiancée about how my Best Man speech is likely going to be eighty-percent about me and twenty-percent about them. Or maybe ninety-ten if I end up having an extra shot of whiskey beforehand and decide to be a total self-absorbed dick. Or maybe seventy-twenty-ten (the ten being Mariah Carey) if it goes over three minutes.

And so that’s what I’ve been up to for the past few weeks. Other highlights of my little holiday sabbatical include:

1. Tailgating and watching the last Pats game of the season in the pouring rain, but feeling too happy and tipsy and grateful for life to really give a shit about something as trivial as being soaked and freezing.

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Of course we won.

2. Ringing in the New Year up in the Catskill Mountains with some of my best friends, a pool table, and one quality cigar that may or may not have made me throw up later (as per usual when I smoke cigars atop mountains).

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And 3. Getting molested by a bear. (An actual bear. Or, rather, a bear-replica. But either way, a bear, the animal. Not to be confused with a large hairy gay man who is likely into sexual accessories of the leather variety – which, for those of you not privy to gay-lingo, is actually a thing.)

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Confession: I liked it.

In related news, I’m not making any grandiose resolutions this year, so yay! You’re spared a list. But I will say that the one word I intend to live by in 2014 is this: Simplicity. As in, not making shit unnecessarily complicated for no reason. Can you imagine a whole year of that? I’m pretty excited about it.

So here’s to a healthy, happy, grateful, healing, hilarious, adventurous, just-uncomfortable-enough-for-growth, strep-free, successful, SIMPLE year ahead! I love y’all.

 

I Accidentally Made Out with a Closeted Married Man, and Now I’m a Hot Mess

First and foremost, I feel the need to assure you that the events I’m about to recount actually took place. Like, in real life. Which you’ll soon realize is insane because one) I have already written extensively on the subject of falling in love with hot suited strangers during my daily commute on the Metro-North train, two) I once even blogged about a fantasy sequence in which I made out with one of them but he ended up being married, and three) that is somehow EXACTLY what happened to me last Friday night, in real life. IR-fucking-L.

There’s a lot to discuss here, so let’s just start from the beginning.

It was the end of a long week, so naturally I went out for post-work Sangria in the city with one of my best girlfriends. One pitcher turned into two, and before I knew it I was a little tipsy on a late-night train back to Connecticut. The train was delightfully empty, so I got cozy in a four-seater all by myself and prepared for the fifty-minute ride home.

Then he showed up. Hot businessman guy. He was wearing a grey pinstripe suit, fancy watch, and (according to my tipsy-goggles, at least) was ruggedly handsome – kind of like Brandon Walsh from 90210. Except manlier. And thirty-something. And, again, in a suit.

I took about five seconds to observe and appreciate his hotness, texted my friend something like “OMG, this man on the train is my everything,” glanced his way again, and then went back to staring at my phone (lest he catch me looking at him and interpret my stalkerish gazes as reason to desert me and switch to another train car that wasn’t crawling with predatory gay bloggers).

As we pulled out of Grand Central, the conductor came on the intercom and was all, “Please make all seats available,” and then the hot businessman opened up a roadie Coors Light, took a swig, and responded (to everyone and no one), “Uh, the train is empty!”

In my mind: He totally just opened the floor for conversation!!! Should I respond? I should definitely respond. No. That’d be weird. Wait, but he was weird first to even make the empty train remark to begin with. OK I’m doing it! No. YES. NO. Yes.

Out loud: “I know, right? The train is so empty!”

To my surprise, he looked my way and smiled warmly as I mentally congratulated myself for being capable of putting words together quickly enough to respond to his declaration. (Even though, let’s be honest, all I did was say exactly what he said except with a “so” in front of it.)

From there, we engaged in a bout of small talk about our commutes (we live in the same town, turns out!) and jobs (we work in the same part of the city, turns out!) and interests (we both watch football, turns out!).

While all of this was going on, I started developing the hopeful feeling that this guy was maybe gay, maybe into me, and maybe meant to be my husband. I mean, why else would he be so friendly? But then I told myself, “No. Calm yourself down, Nic. This dude probably thinks he’s just having a man-to-man discussion about Eli Manning and meanwhile you’ve let your mind go to that ‘ohmiGod is he gay and in love with me?!’ place in not even five minutes. GET A GRIP.”

After a few moments, we reached a lull in conversation. And then some random ass creepy guy in a black trench coat showed up out of nowhere and took one of the seats directly in front of me in my four-seater, despite the fact that there was a whole train car of empty seats available to him! James (the hot businessman guy — fake name, FYI) and I immediately exchanged glances to acknowledge how bizarre this was.

The creepy guy must have realized that James and I were telepathically discussing his weirdness (or maybe he just had to pee), because he abruptly got up and went to the bathroom, leaving me alone to wait for him to return and maim me take his seat back.

But then.

Like a knight in SHINING fucking ARMOR, James got up, swooped over into my four-seater and asked, “Would you like me to sit here instead?”

And so of course I said, “Yes!” and officially moved on from the “ohmiGod is he gay and in love with me?!” place into the more confident “My life is a romantic comedy and James and I SHALL BE MARRIED AND THIS SHALL BE THE STORY WE TELL OUR ADOPTED CHILDREN’S CHILDREN!” place.

For the remainder of the ride home, James and I talked. About our educations, occupations, hometowns, hobbies, and dreams. At one point I told him how I was working toward becoming a full-time writer and he responded with, “That makes sense; you give off a crazy-creative vibe,” and I had to pinch myself to ensure that I wasn’t just train-hallucinating this whole situation.

When we got to our stop, we walked off the train together.

“Alright,” I said as we approached the escalator, “I guess I should get on my way. Got a bit of a walk home.”

Then James was like, “Do you want a ride?” and I was like, “Yes!” (Because an exclamation-pointed “Yes!” had clearly become my go-to answer to any and all of James’ questions that night.)

I know what you may be thinking: Nic just accepted a ride from a stranger? Is he fucking nuts?!

Yes, I did. And yes, I am. And this is why hot people are dangerous. Because had this dude been gross looking or even just average, there’s no way I’d have said anything other than, “No, thanks.”

Still, as we walked to his car, there was a small voice inside of me that was like, “Uh, Christian Bale in American Psycho, Nic. He was hot. He wore a suit. And he killed bitches!” But I was able to quiet it down by asking James flat-out, “You’re not a crazy American psycho, are you?”

He just laughed adorably and said, “No! Trust me, you’re in good hands. I never do this. At all. Is this weird? This is weird. But I feel comfortable with you.”

And so we hopped into the car and continued talking for the duration of the ride to my apartment while our hands almost touched on the center armrest and I realized that I still didn’t have any conclusive evidence of his gay or straightness. There was a part of me that truly wondered if James was just a really nice straight man doing me a favor… but then there was another part of me that wanted to believe we had been flirting all night long.

Either way, when we finally got to the front of my building, I didn’t want to say goodnight. I considered inviting him up to my apartment, but then I was like, “WHO ARE YOU?” (to myself, not him) and instead settled for exchanging cell phone numbers with the intention of hanging out on purpose sometime soon.

And then.

I thanked him for the ride and reached out to shake his hand goodbye.

AND THEN.

He leaned over and went in for a kiss!

And so before I knew it, I was living in a dream and we were making out. And y’all — it was good. This man clearly knew what he was doing. Which is why it was so jarring to me when he abruptly stopped mid-make-out, said, “I don’t know what I’m doing!” and freaked the fuck out.

“What?” I asked, acting as if everything about this whole situation wasn’t bizarre enough to begin with.

“I don’t do stuff like this,” he nervously responded. “I’m married.”

So then my heart kind of casually just stopped, no big deal, and I said, “Wait. You’re married?” [Dramatic pause.] “To a human?”

“A human, Nic?” he replied. “Yes. I’m married to a woman.”

Jaaames!!!” I whined. “WHY?”

And then I punched him. (Playfully and on the chest, but still.)

He proceeded to apologize for not telling me about his wife before kissing me, and then he got this really sad look on his face, and for a second my heart felt incredibly heavy for him. Because I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to be trapped in a straight life and married to a woman and have to deal with inner demons and family pressures and tempting little hot pieces of ass like me just occupying four-seaters on trains on Friday nights.

But then I felt more bad for his wife, because I’m friends with quite a few women and I know for a fact that none of them want their husbands to be repressed gay men.

But then (and maybe I should be ashamed of this?) I felt mostly bad for me. Because seriously, WTF? I meet this perfect-in-every-way man — the old-fashioned, technology-free, just-like-in-the-movies way, even! — and we hit it off tremendously, and he’s the most passionate kisser in the history of the world, and then he’s somebody’s husband? How did I forget to check his left hand for a ring? How did he think it was okay to pursue me in the first place? Do any quality, available men even exist anymore? WHERE HAVE ALL THE COWBOYS GONE?

After about thirty awkwardly silent seconds of sitting in James’ car post-wife-confession, I decided to just start making out with him again. This was desperate and not okay, I know. But again: his kiss. It was delicious. Delicious and forbidden and sexual and hot. And I knew that he was a very dangerous person to even think about getting involved with, but I wanted to pretend for just the shortest moment that he was good and genuine and mine.

And so we kept making out in his car for about ten more blissful seconds, but then — and I think this may have been my conscience resurrecting itself from the low-self-esteem-y grave I’d just dug for it — I started wondering what his wife’s name was and what she must be doing and what she might think he was doing and what her Pinterest might look like. And so I finally mustered up the strength to say, “Dude. This is fucked up. We can’t do this.”

“You’re right,” he replied, not fighting me at all. “I understand if you want to just lose my number. I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine,” I sighed. “It’s fine.”

Then I got out of his car, walked up to my apartment, and aggressively slammed my bag against the floor in a fit of rage. I ran to my window to see if his car was still on my street, but he had already driven off. Regardless of all the reasons not to, I wanted to call him right then and there to ask him to come back so we could try and recapture whatever the hell it was we had both just discovered and lost, all within the past hour.

But then I walked into my bathroom, looked at myself in the mirror, and realized that I really, really needed to take his advice — and just lose his number.

2014 UPDATE: We ran into each other at Dunkin’ Donuts and it was weird.

 

I Ingested Windex and Lived to Blog About It

So, the other night I found myself in a familiar position: Windex-ing my bathroom mirror while getting ready for a date.

(Note: This was not because I planned on having the guy over to my place – we were, in fact, actually meeting in his town. I just enjoy having a streak-free shine on my bathroom mirror at all possible times. Plus, as any of my ex-roommates can attest, I have this problem where my bathroom mirror always gets inexplicably filthy for no reason.)

(Or maybe it’s less “for no reason” and more because I brush my teeth like a coked-out toddler, but whatever.)

(…are coked-out toddlers a thing? I really hope not.)

Anyway. As I waxed-on-waxed-off the reflective surface with a fresh Windex wipe, something (and I have no clue what, which clearly goes to show how important it was) startled me – causing me to abruptly jerk my hand toward myself. Then, in the midst of the hand-jerk, my finger got stuck on an innocent-looking-but-actually-very-dangerous corner of the mirror… AND IT WAS SLICED OPEN. (Or just slightly cut, but still.)

Frazzled, I instantly put the bleeding finger in my mouth for some nurturing self-licking…

…only to find that THE WINDEX WIPE WAS STILL IN MY HAND!

And so before I knew what I was doing, I licked it. I licked the Windex.

I licked. The fucking. Windex, y’all.

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Possibly the worst reenactment ever, because a) I had an ACTUAL wipe in my mouth, not just the package, and b) the look on my face was about ten times more terrified than it is here, but c) I’m posting this anyways because I look skinny and that’s really all that matters in the end.

After my life quickly flashed before my eyes (mostly a montage of Mariah Carey, football, cheesecake, and sandwiches… oh, and friends and family), I suddenly went into survival mode and started scrubbing my tongue and rinsing my mouth (with water, Listerine, and – inadvertently – tears) and spitting vigorously into my sink while internally repeating the Sanskrit mantra Om Namah Shivayah (“I honor the divinity that resides within me”… I know this thanks to years of earnest Hindu study Eat, Pray, Love) to myself until I finally felt like a human again.

Then I looked down at my cut finger and saw that it wasn’t even really bleeding, which led me to remember how a phlebotomist recently accused my blood of not flowing, and so then I proceeded to fall into an emotional spiral of panic about how I must be dead inside. (Or something.)

But then I closed my eyes and gave myself a few more meditation/affirmation/breathing minutes – my new this-time-in-English affirmation being, My body restores itself to its natural state of perfect health.

(It should be noted that I was going to go with something more like, My blood flows like a fucking river, but then I thought it might be too specific – because what if the lack of blood-flow was the result of a greater health issue? And so I figured that My body restores itself to its natural state of perfect health was a much better catch-all blanket affirmation, as opposed to the original, which would have probably just been the blood-flow affirmation version of a Band-Aid.)

And it totally worked! After a few minutes, I felt calmer and more relaxed, and I even started to bleed a little, which, in this case, was totally a win.

And so then I put an actual Band-Aid on my finger, and the whole thing ended up being a bit more anticlimactic than it would have been if I had never snapped myself out of my HOLY-SHIT-I’m-DYING spiral in the first place. Which, actually? Was a refreshing change of pace. I think maybe I’m going to try “not flipping out over small things” more often now.

Maybe.

(Although on second thought, is ingesting Windex really a “small thing”? OMG no, it’s huge. I totally underreacted.)

 

Two Dramatic Blood-Drawing Incidents… and a Funeral

It all started last week when my doctor ordered me to go to a lab to get some blood samples taken so she could test me for “EVERYTHING EVER, PLEASE” (my words, obviously).

After failing to get the job done on my first trip to the lab on Monday (I totally forgot that overnight fasting was a thing, and so I accidentally had a bagel beforehand, and stop looking at me that way), I decided to go back on Friday.

Since I had already taken Friday off of work for a funeral, I figured I’d do the whole blood thing first thing in the morning (before the allure of a bagel could fully conquer me) and then continue to the funeral home from there. This plan seemed perfect – very two-birds-one-stone-y – but then I got to the lab and the phlebotomist (side note: is it just me or is that word weird?) ran into difficulties as she attempted to siphon the required amount of fluid from my right arm.

“This is strange,” she said. “Your blood isn’t flowing.”

Your blood isn’t flowing: Not something one typically wants to hear moments before a funeral, but whatever.

“Huh. That’s strange,” I replied. “Usually it flows… I think? Doesn’t it like, have to? For me to live?”

She ignored my series of questions, took the needle out of my arm, pointed at where she pricked me and said, “See! You’re not even bleeding! This is not normal.”

This is not normal: Also not something one typically wants to hear moments before a funeral ever, but I had to agree with her. I mean, who has a hole in their arm and doesn’t bleed?! (Besides me.)

The phlebotomist suspected that my problem was a lack of hydration, so she put a meager little bandage on my non-bleeding right arm and instructed me to drink a bottle of water. Then she tried again in my left arm, and thankfully, the blood started flowing and everything ended up being totally fine – though I did feel a little lightheaded (/emotionally drained/literally drained… of blood) after the whole ordeal.

(Side note: I also had to give a pee sample. Inconveniently, though, after I peed in the cup, I noticed that I had kind of gotten pee all over it. This was embarrassing, so I decided to take a tissue to wipe the rim and edges of the cup clean, BUT as I did that, I accidentally dipped the tissue into the main pee supply. This was not ideal, as it led me to imagine a scenario in which my pee sample was completely contaminated by whatever tissues are made of (paper? Cotton? Lotion? Does it depend on the brand? Why don’t I know this?) and so I emerged from the bathroom and asked the phlebotomist, “Is it OK if I accidentally dipped a tissue in my pee?” and she gave me a look but then just shrugged and said, “It’s fine,” which led me to believe that perhaps I wasn’t the first person to ask this question – which, if that was the case, then I’d love to meet whoever asked it before me, as I imagine we could totally be BFFs. Or husbands.)

When I finally left the lab and made my way to the funeral home for the viewing, I was asked to be a pallbearer. Naturally, I responded with, “Of course! But you should know that both my arms are more or less severely injured after having just had blood drawn from them.” [Dramatic pause.] “But it’s totally fine.”

Luckily, I managed to make it through the experience without losing my grip, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t drink a glass of wine at the dinner afterwards in order to reward myself for a job well done. I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t continue drinking glasses of wine until I eventually felt it appropriate to ramble on to everyone in attendance about how heroic it was of me to carry a casket up and down church steps while dealing with a double arm-handicap.

And then I realized that I had somehow managed to make a funeral all about me.

And then I realized that I had singlehandedly (or double-armedly?) reached previously unexplored, astronomical levels of self-absorption.

Even for me.

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I mean, I even took a sun-in-the-eyes selfie. And this is what’s wrong with America.

I’m Becoming Rational and It Feels Weird (but Good-Weird?)

Last month I met up with my very talented writer buddy Steven to talk about our querying woes. In the middle of the cheesecake portion of our meeting (because with me, there’s always a cheesecake portion, and yes, I’m a Golden Girl), I got a call from a dude I talked to on OkCupid late last year, stopped talking to early this year, and then recently started talking to again in September.

He was calling to plan our much-delayed first date. He suggested hiking, I agreed, and then I hung up and analyzed the fuck out of the situation with Steven, because me.

  • Nic: So. I just agreed to go on a hiking first date. Hiking on a first date – this is a bad idea, huh?
  • Steven: OK, after having read the last few chapters of your manuscript, aren’t all of your dates hiking dates? What’s the problem?
  • Nic: No. There were only two hiking dates in the book, and they were the third and second, respectively. I’ve only ever been on one hiking first date, and that was with Far-Away Guy in August and WE ALL KNOW HOW THAT TUNRED OUT.
  • Steven: Calm down.
  • Nic: I’d rather go to that new beer garden that just opened in my town! Oh my God, this guy’s not the one. The one would have automatically known to suggest the beer garden and not hiking. I should just cancel right now and save us all time.

And that’s when Steven gave me an epic eye roll and was all, “Yeah, Nic. Cancel your date because this man you’ve never met before COULDN’T READ YOUR FUCKING MIND.”

Luckily, I was astute enough to sense Steven’s sarcasm, and so I soon realized that I was being ridiculous.

Also, I remembered that I love hiking. And so I went on the date, and that was four Saturdays ago. And we had a great time, and we’ve since seen each other three more times… and that’s all I’m going to say for now, because I’m starting to think that a four-week layover period between “dating-related thing happening” and “blogging about it” is the perfect recipe for perspective.

I think I just learned how to date (and blog) like a somewhat sane person? It only took me… OK, I just started counting the years, and that shit was depressing. Never mind.

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Taken on the date in question. NOW this is probably all foliage-y… but y’know, four weeks.

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