Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Talk of Circadian Rhythms

Dear Internets,

Whenever I don't have to get up for work (or, in the past, school) for more than three days, I start becoming nocturnal*. I've been this way my entire life, to the frustration of my parents, older sister, several roommates, and probably even my dog.

It always seemed kind of strange to me that my off-kilter sleep schedule upset everyone so much - I was careful not to wake or keep anyone else up, as much to preserve my solitude as their slumber. Still, it made them uncomfortable. They just didn't understand why I wouldn't just go to sleep at a decent hour like a normal person.

I love being awake late at night, though. In college, I used to take my dog on long walks after dark when I didn't have morning classes the next day.** I loved the way the streetlights separated the darkness into neat paragraphs, and that I could actually hear my thoughts click against the pavement with Bailey's footsteps.

Daylight overwhelms me sometimes, with its million sounds and people and things and ideas refracting in a million different directions. The night is well-edited.

Get some rest, Internets.

Love,
Jane

*[This phenomenon is kind of bizarre, because when I'm on a "regular person" schedule (8 to 5, M-F, or something similar) I fall asleep at my normal bedtime (whatever it happens to be) like I'm punching a time clock. Some friends once dragged me to a rather scary club on a trip to Houston, and I apparently slept through a loud fight with my head on my friend Lyn's shoulder.]

**Then I watched too many episodes of Cold Case Files and realized that it wasn't an entirely safe habit.

Errands

Dear To-Do List,

Please go away for a while, 'kay? I would like to take a nap, and read some blogs, and possibly upload some pictures from this weekend.

XOXO,
Jane

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

You are getting sleepy...

Dear Benadryl,

I took you last night to combat an allergic reaction. Today I noticed I was a complete space cadet, so I read up on you on the trusty Internets.

Good grief! The half life of diphenhydramine can be from 8-10 hours?!!?! Benadryl, you should be ashamed of yourself. No wonder I was a zombie throughout the spring allergy season.

No more, Mr. Benadryl. I will not tolerate any more of your abuse, even if it means I have to switch to using a neti pot to combat allergies.



Sigh.

No longer yours truly,
Jane

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day

Dear Holiday Weekend,

Thanks for coming along so that I could spend a couple days in a nice hotel in San Antonio with A. We're thinking we might go to Sea World or Six Flags for kicks, but drinking margaritas on the Riverwalk will be nice enough as it is.

Happy sigh...

Kisses,
Jane

Friday, May 23, 2008

The first day of the rest of my life

Dear Cubicle,

We've had some good times together, cubicle. I really wish we could have done the whole unicorns and faux fur theme before I left, but it's probably for the best.

I'll miss ya!
Jane

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Who me?

Dear Puppy-dog,

It is not nice to dress you up in clothes. That is why I never do it, even though it would be *really* cute.



Nope. I'd never do such a thing.

Love,
Jane

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Is it time for bed yet?

Dear Head,

Please stop it with the pounding headache.

Love,
Jane

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mulletgate

Dear Hair,

I think it's time for a change, but I'm kinda scared. Remember last year, when I had the mullet?* The salon owner who fixed you was great, especially when she said "Oh my God! Who did this to you and how did it happen in my salon?!" and gave me a cute new haircut.

Should we do a big change, chop off all the chlorine damage, and start over? Or should we go the safe route, and just get a trim? Could there be a worse haircut result than a reverse mullet (the one I was given last year was party in the front, business in the back), or can I assume that I've already been given the worst haircut I'll ever get**?

Yours,
Jane

*Being able to start stories with, "Remember that one time? Back when I had the mullet?" is really the only good part about getting mulletted by an inexperienced hair stylist.

**This was the mistake that led to getting the mullet in the first place, really. I assumed I had already been given the worst haircut of my life back in sixth grade, when my mom took me to JC Penny so a "professional" (bless my mom's heart…) could fix my suddenly frizzy hair. I ended up spending most of junior high with poodle hair, which was set off nicely by my giant glasses. I don't even think my grandma thought I was cute.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Two Minutes

Dear Stalkerish Former Boss,

You beat me by two minutes. Well done.

I'm torn about how to approach the next three races that you and I are both signed up for. On one hand, my time in this triathlon improved 32 minutes from my time last year, which is kind of obscene. I don't know if I could have trained so well without my secret desire to beat you. On the other, I'm not sure I enjoyed the race at all. I was uncomfortable, nervous, even panicky at times. I kept thinking, "I thought I do this for fun..."

At this point Bossy, I'm thinking I should just let it go. I don't enjoy un-friendly competition; I'd really prefer to just compete with myself. In two weeks, I'll start a completely new job (woot!) and hopefully not have to interact with you anymore anyway.

So, for two weeks at least, I suggest we call a truce*.

Sincerely,
Jane

*Although if you say something b*@#y again, I may have to rethink my decision.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Dating Games

Dear Internets,

For some reason, I decided it was a good idea to go look at a blog that I kept a couple of years ago when I used to go on a lot of bad dates. (One word could describe both the blog and the dates: UGH...)(On the other hand, I did briefly have the honor of being the first search result in Google for "poor single you.")

At any rate, I stumbled upon a post about one of my most awful dates ever. I challenge you, Internets, to beat this:

Accidental Meth Head

A few weeks ago, I met a guy for lunch at a Tex-Mex restaurant near my work. He was cute and charming, actually had a full-time job, and didn't live with his ex-girlfriend. This was a dramatic improvement over other dates I'd been on recently, and I was determined to enjoy myself.

We were having a nice conversation about New Year's resolutions (I had decided not to make any; he wanted to eat out less, hardy har) and Christmas shopping (we were both glad to be done with it) when his phone rang.

"I'm not answering that," he said.

I assumed he was trying to be polite, and assured him I didn't mind if he picked up.

"No, that guy is totally shady," he said.

“Oh?” I said.

“Yeah, because of him, I haven’t slept in like 54 hours.”

Apparently, my date's drug dealer was calling. He had purchased what he thought was “just” cocaine from the dealer, but it had actually turned out to be meth. He had been up for days.

At this moment, staring awkwardly at my quesadilla, I wondered what it would be like to tell this story at the next holiday family gathering.

Inevitably one of my family members (who, unless male, probably got married at 18 and had babies by 20) will ask why I haven’t gotten married yet. My usual response, “I guess I just haven’t found the right guy,” is generally countered with accusations that I am just too picky.

“Picky?” I could say. “The next thing you know, guys will be smoking crack because they think it’s a new kind of cigarette in a vial. Thanks but no thanks, I’m fine by myself.”


If anyone can beat that story, you will win the prize of being the new "Poor Single You" of the Internets. I will even make you a plaque.

Love always,
Jane

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Snack Break

Dear Bananas,

Thanks for being such a delicious mid-morning snack.

Love,
Jane

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Quick Washing Machine Update

Dear Internets,

Do you ever have so much to say that you can't say anything at all? Someday maybe I will get my head screwed on straight and tell you more stories.

I do have some sort of good news. I'm thinking the ghost that haunts my condo has temperature issues: the dishwasher stopped getting hot, the A/C stopped getting cold, and the washing machine started making strange noises *only when I attempted to use warm or hot water*. So to appease the ghost (and delay potentially expensive washing machine repair/replacement) I'm just going to suck it up for a while and invest in some Cold Water Tide.

It kind of reminds me of this joke, but I'm going to try not to think about that.

XOXO,
Jane

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Oh the appliances you'll buy...

Dear Washing Machine,

Enough with the strange noises and weird attitude. I know about Murphy's Law and all, but three (expensive) appliances breaking in less than six months, despite semi-consistent maintenance? That's just ridonkulous.

Yours (FOREVER, DAMMIT),
Jane

Monday, May 12, 2008

Travel Bug

Dear Jane in 2005,

It's me, Jane from the future. Enjoy going to fun places like Ecuador and Switzerland while you have room in your budget to do it. In fact, if you could manage to squeeze in an additional trip to oh, learn to surf in Costa Rica, I'd appreciate it.



Love,
Jane

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Dear Mom,

You've put up with a lot over the years. (Sometimes I think we both have, but since it's Mother's Day I won't go there.) I love you.

Love,
Jane

P.S. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms and mom-like entities out there!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Surreality

Dear Saturday Afternoon,

It's been a long time since we've spent time alone together. I haven't meant to neglect you, it's just that with the second job and the triathlon training, I haven't had a lot of extra time on my hands. It was nice to get reacquainted with you today. Our time together slipped by in spurts.

The bookstore: My back feels strangely stiff, on the verge of painful spasms. I walk around slowly, massaging my spine with one hand and praying I don't have to leave the bookstore on a stretcher. A man approaches me, and asks me if I know where he can find a good yoga studio. "I'm not sure," I reply. "I don't do yoga."

"How surprising!" he replies. "You have such a lovely physique and posture, I assumed you must be a yogi."

"Thank you," I say sincerely but suspiciously. I hobble off to hide in Feminist Fiction.

A moment later, a cockatoo named Casper lands on my arm. He's owned by a painfully lonely-looking old man, who has taught the bird to say "I love you." I hand the bird back and smile. Casper poops on the floor. My heart breaks.

The grocery store: I eye the fresh flowers, marked down (or possibly up) for Mother's Day. I feel a bit sorry for the people handing out samples; customers are acting like they're being invited to sample small bags of rock cocaine. I however, am shameless. I sample raspberry pancakes and chocolate-dipped strawberries, hoping to avoid spending money on lunch.

The liquor store: I'm here to buy a bottle of wine for my friend Kat's birthday dinner. The store is sandwiched, appropriately and unapologetically, between a Chuck E. Cheese and a discount fabric store. In the parking lot, a father and daughter spot a neighbor's car and speculate which store he's in. They decide it's most likely Chuck E. Cheese. Apparently, the neighbor is a bit creepy. I wonder if he does yoga.

I retreat home to do laundry, walk the dog, and blog.

Ahh... Saturday. I've missed you.

Jane

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Opposite of Blues

Dear Friday p.m.,

I love you so very, very much.

Love,
Jane

Flashback

Dear Diary,

Why aren't you as cool as this? I still love ya, but we've got some work to do.

Hugs,
Jane

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Decisions and Destiny

Dear Grass,

Are you really greener on the other side of the fence? If you could let me know ASAP, that would be fantastic.

XOXO,
Jane

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Jane's Fist of Karma

Dear Internets,

I thought I should tell you that I have possibly lost my marbles.

Tonight I went to a fun local restaurant with a friend with every intention of eating my quesadillas and minding my own business. As we ate though, I couldn't help but notice that the table next to us was getting kind of... loud. The woman (Loud Lady) shouted orders across the room to a waitress in another section. Her boyfriend yelled at a busboy who didn't speak English, apparently because he thought if he JUST TALKED LOUDER AND MORE SLOWLY THE BUSBOY WOULD MAGICALLY UNDERSTAND HIM AND REFILL HIS DRINK. At one point, Loud Lady went into the kitchen and grabbed a fistful of lemons with her grubby bare hand. (Bless his heart, Loud Lady's three-year-old son was the most well-behaved person at their table.)

Despite the fact that Loud Lady and her boyfriend seemed intent on causing a scene, I was doing a fairly good job ignoring them. They weren't drinking, so I figured they wouldn't get any worse. Then the restaurant manager came over to ask the family, if they could possibly help it, to avoid going into the kitchen to get lemons directly out of the lemon bucket.

Loud Lady completely lost it. Didn't the restaurant manager know that they were *regular* customers of the restaurant? Didn't he want their business? DIDN'T HE KNOW IT WAS THAT TRAMPY BLONDE WAITRESS' FAULT THAT THEY *HAD* TO GO GET THEIR OWN LEMONS BECAUSE SHE WOULDN'T BRING THEM MORE LEMONS???

I watched the manager go through the various steps of attempting to reason with a crazy person (the waitress isn't serving your section, your own waiter brought you more lemons several times, that waitress isn't out to get you because you're not tall and thin and blonde, she's just busy) before giving up. I felt bad for him; I've been in his shoes myself. It's the sad reality of customer service that the customer who insists s/he is always right is usually nuts. It's the even sadder reality of low-level management that there's little or nothing you can do to satisfy the nutty customers, except admit responsibility for everything that could possibly be wrong in their lives at the particular moment you happen to be talking to them. (Sometimes, if you denigrate yourself completely, you can even shut them up until the next time they visit your establishment.)

However, emasculating the restaurant manager was not going to be enough to satisfy LoudCrazy Lady. She set in on the sweet, dreadlocked waiter as soon as he came to refill their sodas and iced tea. How DARE he 'tell on' her to management? Didn't he know it was because he and that blonde slut couldn't do their jobs that they had to go get their own lemons? Why didn't he tell that blonde slut he worked with to do her job? WHY DOESN'T HE GO ON OVER AND GET THAT BLONDE SLUT SO CRAZY LADY CAN GIVE HER A LESSON IN HOW TO BRING PEOPLE THEIR DAMN LEMONS? CLEARLY THE WAITSTAFF IS JUST STUPID AND RUDE.

With the manager off licking his wounds, there was nothing the poor waiter could say or do to defend himself, and Crazy Lady knew it.

At this point, Internets, I am embarrassed to say that I lost my cool.

"ACTUALLY, MA'AM," I said (rather loudly). "I think that YOU are the one being rude. You are being so loud that you are disturbing other customers. You need to keep it down."

In retrospect, I know it probably wasn't a good idea to attempt to diffuse a crazy person, and it probably didn't make me look like the world's classiest individual. But Internets... it worked! Crazy Lady made a couple of half-hearted comments about me needing to mind my own business, and the table next to them being the loud ones, but she stayed subdued for the rest of her meal.

I don't know why I told her off. Maybe it was the years spent being yelled at because the supermarket ran out of cherimoyas, or the paper bag handles weren't comfortable, or I forgot to ask if they wanted five nickels or one quarter, or I followed my manager's instructions and let someone through the 10-items-or-less (didn't I know that should be "fewer"?) line with eleven items. Honestly, I'm pretty embarrassed that I said anything to Crazy Lady at all. But the waiter told me thank you, and if I made his $2.13 an hour night any less crappy by speaking up, I think it was worth it.

Don't hate me 'cause I'm crazy, Internets...

Love,
Jane

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

It's not Enabling, it's Helping

Dear Closet,

As you know, I've been doing a lot of work to clean you out and pare you down to the bare essentials. Race t-shirt from 2003? Out! Skirt that, while cute, only matches that one shirt that never really fit me that well in the first place? Both gone! Non-moisture-wicking athletic socks? They get the boot!*

You may also know from speaking with my debit card that I've been trying to cut back on my spending so that I can afford things like annoying special condo fees. I've been doing pretty well.

However... You know how sometimes you may not need new clothes, but you kind of need new clothes? I think this is one of those times. I bought a couple of surprisingly cute dresses that were on super-sale at Target (I guess they are not being sold online, so unfortunately I can't link to pictures - but they are really cute), and my appetite has been whetted. The dresses themselves will probably require me to buy a new slip, and it's probably time to buy some cute, work-appropriate shoes for summer too. So a little extra shopping while I'm at it wouldn't be too terribly bad, right?

Don't worry Closet. You're not enabling me. You're just giving me the space I need to grow**.

XOXO,
Jane

*Hardy har...
**Ok, no more puns, I promise.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Loose ends

Dear Rob Thomas,

Did you know that your series finale for Veronica Mars was number two on The Onion's list of unanswered TV questions? Which leads me to my second question: still no plans for a Veronica Mars movie?

Yours (admittedly somewhat pathetically),
Jane

Sunday, May 4, 2008

NKOTB 4-ever

Dear New Kids on the Block,

I found one of your tapes this afternoon in a box my mom was going to take to Goodwill. (I rescued the tape, of course.) Your songs have been running through my head ever since. Is this karmic payback for the musical guilty pleasures of my youth?

Your Cover Gi-i-rrrll,
Jane

Friday, May 2, 2008

The best kind of boy

Dear Nephew,

Today you learned to say my name, which officially makes you the smartest, cutest little boy ever to poke me in the shoulder and demand Cheerios. (Don't tell your mom that I gave in!)

I love you little Monkey!

Love,
Aunt Jane

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Uppers

Dear Peanut M&M's,

You are delightful little mid-day mood boosters. I love your sunshine yellow packaging; it complements your deliciousness.

Love ya!
Jane

Mind Control

Dear Shirt,

I forgot to iron your collar this morning, thus most likely giving others the impression that I didn't iron you at all. Although no one really cares too much what I look like, this is causing me mild anxiety.

I think I know why.

My very first real interview was for a job at a grocery store. (I "interviewed" at the farm where I worked when I was 16, but that mostly involved listening to a monologue about why I was going to be hired.) In retrospect, the grocery store interview process was weirdly grueling, especially when you consider that, at the time, job applicants generally showed up at internet start-ups in shorts, demonstrated their ability to turn on a computer, and were hired for corner offices on the spot.

The 100 or so candidates were told to sit in a giant room, where we were called in groups of three for round after round of interviews with progressively higher levels of middle management. After the first couple of rounds, we stopped talking to each other; we had seen so many of our comrades disappear through the exit door that we were reluctant to form even passive relationships. Eventually, there were about twelve of us left, and we were called in individually to meet with the store VP's.

Bill was slim, and wore khaki pants, a blue dress shirt, and (my best estimate) about a half a bottle of hair gel. Jim was a slightly heavier, balder version of Bill.

"We have to say," Bill began. "We don't usually hire high school students to work here. They just aren't very serious."

"But you seem very serious," Jim interjected. "Very well put together."

"See Jane, Jim and I here are what you would call Level Three starch guys," Bill continued.

I nodded, although I had no clue what he was talking about.

"Well," Bill conceded. "I'm a Level Three guy at work, but on weekends, I'll take it down to a Level Two sometimes. Jim here's a guy who will wear a freshly dry cleaned shirt to a golf course." They both chuckled heartily. I smiled, somewhat confused.

As Bill wiped at his eyes and Jim slapped his knee, I considered my outfit. I was wearing a red button-up shirt borrowed from my sister, and khaki pants I had purchased the day before at Old Navy after I impulsively decided it would be fun to work evenings at a grocery store. I guessed that it had been a good choice.

"You can tell a lot about a person by how well they iron their clothes," Jim said. "I like to see a person iron a crease into their pants."

I finally got it. They liked me, at least in part, because of my well-pressed pants. I was glad I hadn't decided to wash them before wearing them to the interview.

"You respect a person more if they're well-dressed and well-pressed, that's what we like to say," Bill said as they both chuckled again.

I laughed politely, and the interview continued. Unfortunately, the damage to my subconscious had already been done.

You see, I'm weirdly susceptible to internalizing information in an interview situation. Maybe it's the combination of the stress and my own paranoia about missing some job-critical policy or procedure, but I absorb almost everything I am told**.

At any rate, perhaps because it was my first real job interview, I think my subconscious somehow absorbed not only what Bill and Jim were saying, but also their bias for well-starched clothing at work. To this day, even though I don't even work in a Level One starch place (whatever the heck that means), I feel guilty coming to work in even slightly wrinkled clothes. It's bizarre.

Anyway shirt, I think together we'll make it through. A coworker on another team strolled in this morning in cargo shorts, so maybe I'll eventually manage to re-program myself.

Wrinkled-ly yours,
Jane

**I'm serious. I once interviewed at Bath and Bodyworks (shushup, it used to be cool) and I still remember the proper procedure for giving out hand cream samples, even though they didn't even hire me. Had Bill and Jim been leaders at some sort of cult, I'd probably be mixing giant tubs of Koolaid in a compound in East Texas right now. (In fact, I'm beginning to understand why the Scientologists are always passing out job applications.)