FIRST OF ALL, I have a confession. A couple of days ago, I posted on Twitter about a miracle that had occurred. I used up a bottle of shampoo and a bottle of conditioner on the exact same day in the exact same shower. I know, I was shocked, too. But it happened. I chalked it up to cutting off over a foot of hair back in the fall. It’s long again now because my hair and my butt and boobs are the only parts of me that have ever reliably grown, but still.
So I was in the store with Phil the other day looking for new shampoo and conditioner, and mentioned to him that they didn’t have the one I like, and he said, “Oh, I guess I shouldn’t have used so much of your shampoo, then.”
THANKS FOR TAKING AWAY MY MAGICAL MOMENT, PHILLIP.
SECOND OF ALL, remember the other day when I complained a lot? I had forgotten one of the complaints. I’m well-rested right now so I’m not feeling as uppity about it, but I’m going to tell you anyway – here’s a thing that annoys the shit out of me: songs and other media talking about how a woman doesn’t know she’s beautiful and that makes her beautiful. What. Why can’t she know? Did you see that post on reddit or somewhere a while ago where a woman was on a dating app of some sort and started responding differently when guys told her she was hot or whatever? Like, instead of blowing it off, she said, oh, thanks, or something like that. And she got responses that were crazy. There was this one where a guy is like hey, you’re hot, and she said, oh, thank you, and you know how he responds? WHOA WHOA WHOA, a little full of yourself, eh? And she’s like, huh? And he TELLS HER, you’re supposed to say something like, oh, no I’m not, or something like that. Like he actually expected her to deny that she was hot, EVEN THOUGH HE HAD JUST TOLD HER SHE WAS, and her failure to do so revealed some kind of massive personality flaw. There was a screen shot and all that went along with it, but half-assed combinations of “lady says ok when a guy thinks she’s hot” pulled up nothing I was looking for, imagine that.
Obviously there’s this whole problem a lot of us have with taking compliments, because compliments can be uncomfortable, and that’s something we’ve all got to work on personally, as adults, but at the same time, you’ve got people actually believing that not acknowledging your good points is a huge part of what makes them good points. That shouldn’t be a thing. Why is a girl not knowing she’s beautiful part of what makes her beautiful? Is it that you want to date an idiot? Or are you an idiot? Because I am telling you, if she is beautiful, she probably knows, and if she doesn’t know, she will know some day when she grows up and gets comfortable with herself and stops dating morons who want to be the only one to be allowed to confer the word beautiful onto a woman.
THIRD OF ALL, someone damaged my scooter in the parking lot at work. They didn’t hit it, because it’s always parked in such a way that that’s not really possible. There’s scratches in the paint down one side, at the back end and front end, and also the end of the brake lever is damaged, as well. It looks like someone dropped it and it hit the curb. However, if it had been actually knocked over, the cowl bars would have taken the hit, and if they didn’t and the panels hit, they would have cracked. No, what clearly happened (you’ll have to trust me because this is my scooter and I know it) is that someone was ON it and was surprised by the center of gravity on it. That takes a bit to get used to, it’s low and heavy. So they lost the balance – I’ve done it. Once it starts to tip, if you’re not very strong or very tall, it’s very hard to keep your grip without shoving your body under it as leverage. So someone was on it and it tipped, and they didn’t drop it straight to the ground, but more held it and slowed it as it went down, and banged it off the curb.
THERE WASN’T EVEN A NOTE.
Who DOES that! Who just GETS ON someone else’s vehicle in a parking lot, let alone damages it and doesn’t say anything? I’m so upset. I wanted to be the first one to damage it. Not really, but you know what I mean. I have insurance, but I don’t feel the deductible is worth it for some scratches like that, especially when I’m such a new driver and likely WILL scratch it myself. We’ve kind of decided to just let it go for now, and in a while, after I’m done getting all my beginner scratches in, we’ll get it fully painted so I can have the pink scooter I originally wanted. But I have to SEE the scratches all the time and it just REALLY CHAPS MY ASS, not because the damage is so upsetting, which it is, but because I find it SO BEWILDERING that it’s something people will do. Touch and potentially harm something that IN NO WAY can be mistaken as belonging to them. You can’t just DO THAT. Except clearly people do, and this is definitely one of those “two kinds of people” situations, because it would NEVER CROSS MY MIND to do such a thing.
LASTLY, yesterday I was at work, and I had made new CDs for the coffee shop a couple of days ago because the old ones have been there for years and I couldn’t listen to one more Jason Mraz song. A couple came in and the lady was pregnant. They got two coffees and were leaving when the song changed to Ben Folds’s Gracie, and the man goes, “Aw,” and the lady said something I didn’t hear, and the guy said, “Do you want to sit and listen?” So they sat down on the couches and sat there quietly, and after a minute, the guy wiped his eye a little, and when the song ended, they got up and left. Guys, I think they’re having a girl and I think her name might be Gracie.
You know how in your marriage, or your relationship, or in your whatever you’ve got going on or not going on that works for you, you eventually fall into these little routines, like a kind of division of tasks, the smaller ones. Not who does the yard work and who doesn’t do the yard work and instead sits vulture-like at the window to make sure not a single half-blade of shorn fresh grass makes its way into the house, but I mean how other things are broken down. Like if I am getting ready to take Penny somewhere, Phil makes her a roadie and loads her in the car for me, then I take her away and he sits and stares at the wall for an hour, I assume, because that’s what I do when I’m suddenly left alone in the house and overwhelmed with the possibilities of doing things in my own home without interruption. You know, however you break stuff up. Routines and all of that.
And I’m not talking about how a marriage works, specifically, because there are people who have Very Firm Ideas on how marriage in general should work and will not hesitate to tell you you’re a bad wife or bad husband or bad whatever your role is. There’s this really strange – to me – idea of fairness that people like to apply to marriage in general, the idea that it should be 50/50 or otherwise equitable, which, okay, I get that, but those same people also want to be the ones to decide what is fair or equitable, and that’s… not a thing. You can’t apply one standard to all couples, like Person A does tasks X, Y, and Z, and Person B does equally weighted tasks of T, U, and V, and that’s fair and how it should be, so if you’re only doing X, leaving Y, Z, T, U, and V for the other person, you are definitely doing marriage wrong and you’re terrible at it and you’re probably going to get divorced. You can’t do that, though, because you can’t be the arbiter of how tasks are weighted universally, and also about what other people consider a good partnership, or even be the person to decide that it should be fair. Do you see a ferris wheel? Do you see a man selling tickets? IF NOT, IT’S NOT A FAIR, SO FUCK RIGHT OFF WITH THAT SHIT.
I admit this is a very personally irritating topic and most other people probably don’t give it much of a thought, but I have learned by now to not talk specifics about how my own marriage works, because it will not be long before I am told it is WRONG and I should STOP and be DIFFERENT, and that is just infuriating in its stupidity, because you’re not a part of this, Lemon. But while I am now wise enough to not put that kind of business out there, it does not stop me from wading in to infuriating arguments on Reddit on the same topics, and really, I’m getting all heated up just thinking about the last one I threw myself into.
It’s especially irritating to me, likely, because I know we’re operating outside whatever a bunch of people may consider the norm to be, and people are prickly about stuff they’re insecure about. Not that I’m insecure about my marriage itself, or maybe I am, but that’s not the topic or anyone’s business anyway, so I’m going to leave it there as an either or – either I am or I’m not and both are equally possible – because I don’t want anyone thinking too hard about my marriage because I find that upsetting. Actually, I don’t like it when people think too hard about anything about me. I don’t like to be thought about. It makes me anxious and uncomfortable. I want to be The Silence of humans. Just forget I exist entirely until I appear in front of you. Then we’ll probably do something nice together instead of me kidnapping you and turning you into a murderous astronaut, but up until the murdery part, I’m The Silence, ok?
WHAT I’M GETTING TO IS THIS. You remember that show, Mad About You? Of course you do. It was one of those sitcoms that does a little bit of show, then the theme song comes on, then the real show starts. So there would be this little part or joke, just a minute or so, before the theme music, that wasn’t really tied to the rest of the episode. I don’t know if television shows still do that. I don’t really watch a lot of sitcoms. But you probably remember when that was a thing even if it’s not still currently a thing, so I feel fine moving forward with the description I’ve given there. So this one episode, it opens with one of these little vignette dealies, and Paul and Jamie are standing at the same small sink in their bathroom, brushing their teeth. I can’t remember the exact details, but they’re cooperating, like one toothpastes up and passes the tube and the other turns on or off the water, and it’s clear they’ve done this a million times. Paul leans over to spit in the sink, and he spits, and Jamie leans over, too, and spits right into the hair on the back of his head. He stands up, and he’s got this look of absolute shock and betrayal, and he’s like, “I thought we had this.” And she’s got nothing to say for herself because they’ve been together forever and they’ve brushed their teeth a million times, right next to each other, every day, twice a day, and then she suddenly loses the plot and goes and spits right in his hair, and something like that seems, almost, in some ways, more shocking than if she was like, oh yeah, I slept with six other dudes over the past year or so. Because that at least is so far out there and crazy that it seems more possible than her spitting right in his hair.
I have a point, and the point is that Phil ordered extra cheese on my green pepper and onion pizza last night, and I’m having a really hard time getting over it. I just… what? What, Phillip? In what life that we’ve lived together, outside of parallel universe me, who I remind you that you do not know, have I ever wanted more than the exact standard amount of cheese on anything? Extra cheese? We’ve been together almost eight years, and he ordered my pizza with extra cheese. I’m seriously completely boggled that it happened and frankly, still feeling a little wounded this morning. This was cheese completely out of left field.
There is a really unsettling and then settling thing that I think happens to everyone at some point, or maybe actually it doesn’t happen to everyone, but after it happens to you, you realize it’s very likely it happens to everyone. I say both unsettling and settling because there’s the before, before the thing happens, and then it happens, whatever it is, and it’s so shocking to realize it can happen, and then once you know it can, everything is fine in a new way.
You know those things that happen to other people but definitely don’t or won’t happen to you, whether you consciously think it or just kind of assume in the back of your mind that it’s just not something that happens to you. Maybe because it’s just so unlikely, you’d never expect it, or maybe because you just don’t see yourself as the kind of person those things happen to.
Let me give you a list of the kind of stuff I mean, the stuff that happens to other people exclusively, before the day it happens to you. Other people get in major car accidents. Other people lose their jobs. Other people’s kids grow up to be drug addicts. Other people’s spouses cheat. Other people get divorced. Other people get cancer/some other devastating diagnosis.
So all that stuff happens to other people and you just feel it won’t happen to you, because really the odds are small/your kid is not that kid/your marriage is solid, etc. Then stuff like that happens to people you kind of know, like on the outskirts of your social circle, and it’s shocking. Then it happens to someone you know, and you realize it’s closer. Kind of like, whoa, that was close, because I know that person, but it’s not actually close because life is random, so it’s not like disaster looked at you standing next to someone and chose them instead.
There was this guy, when I first started working. He was from another store, covering another person’s last week of maternity leave. He did a lot of my training, since he was there and I was there and after a week he went back to his own store. I saw him again once or twice when he came to pick something up or drop something off. Anyway, he was at his place and I was at mine. A week or two ago, a lot of the shift managers where I work were travelling up to where he worked to cover shifts there. My boss was talking to me about being shorthanded over there, how they’d lost a shift manager. People are in and out at these jobs all the time, obviously, but she said someone had died. And I said, “You don’t mean Steven, do you?” (That’s not his name.) And she said yes, he’d died. He was coming home from somewhere and his car crossed into the other lane, and that was that. And that’s one of those outside of the social circle things, not someone I considered a friend or knew well, but I knew him, and he was close to my age and worked in my same job and was doing something I do. You know, driving a car. It’s weirdly surreal when one of those other people things happen to someone who is one of your people, no matter how tangentially so. I don’t in any way think his death was about me or that I’m personally affected other than “Geeze, that is fucking sad and I liked that guy,” and I haven’t in any way made it about me, other than thinking over my shock, because that’s what it was, shocking. I mean, people die ALL the TIME. But when it brushes by closely – and I realize this is not that CLOSE but you know what I mean – it’s a little unsettling.
Anyway, all of these things happen to other people. Other people fall asleep at the wheel and drift into traffic. But then, something on the list of things that happen to other people – maybe something you’ve given so little thought that it wouldn’t even occur to you to think about it being something that happened to anyone, but if you HAD, it would definitely be something that happened to other people – happens to you. And that is fucking unsettling. Even if it’s just a little thing, in the grand scheme of things. Because if this can happen, then suddenly all of the other people things can happen, too. There is literally no reason any of those things might not be you someday. Not that there was any real reason they wouldn’t be you before now, but suddenly it’s very clear that you have no secret special protection from life changing, bad, weird, or otherwise giant shit happening to you. (I do realize that coming to this understanding is very possibly a hallmark of emotional maturity I did not possess before a certain point in my life, and maybe normal people achieve that much earlier, and maybe you’re reading this like, “this is not news, you absolute walnut,” but I can only live inside this one head.)
For awhile, it’s really unsettling. A thing happened that wasn’t supposed to happen to you, and now you’re totally open to all the other things out there. Like this one thing wiggled in through your secret force field, the one that you had that was better than the unfortunate others, and tore it all the fuck up and now it’s all coming. You are now the other person. You are someone else’s other person, and shit happens to the other people. Now you will get all the shit, because you are in the other category now, where the shit comes to live.
That’s a long phase, or maybe a short one, I don’t know, because this is all hindsight now, where you’re just braced for all the terrible things that are coming for you now, now that you’re on this other side, and that’s unsettling, but eventually it’s not anymore. Eventually, it flips to the other side. Okay. Something that happens to other people has happened to me. Being the incredibly self-absorbed person that I am, that leads me to believe, finally, what was definitely true all along – that there are no other people. I have long considered myself to be the most average person I know, and if I’ve suddenly fallen into the other category, my self-centered mind gradually shifts to the understanding that of course I am still normal and average, and it’s not that these things happen to other people. They happen to normal and average people, of which I am one. And everyone else is one, too, except for the people on the ends who make averages like me possible.
And you know, that’s fine. Realizing you’re not secretly protected from these things should be unsettling, and it is, but then it’s really, really, fine. Understanding that the crap that only happens to other people could be lurking right around the corner for you, too, is kind of calming, in a weird way. This is life as it happens to all people and you’re going to keep living it. It’s easier to be gracious to people who are having a hard time, even if you can’t imagine yourself ever having the same kind of hard time, because of course you could have the same kind of hard time. It’s easier to swoop in and ask for what someone needs when they’re struggling, when before you would have been the type to hang back, not get involved, or not intrude, because it’s suddenly so much easier to imagine yourself in their shoes, or even kind of assume you will be in a similar set of shoes some day. It makes it easier to motivate yourself to work to keep what you have, stay healthy, talk to your kids, dedicate yourself with renewed energy to your marriage, not out of a “please let it only be them and not me” kind of motivation, but out of an understanding that no, not everyone gets to keep what they have, and there’s no criteria for choosing who does and who doesn’t get to hold on to it all.
I realize now this sounds like some kind of deep philosophical bullshit, or more likely one of those obnoxious “live every moment like it’s your last!” inspiration type crap heaps, and I hope you know me better than that. I’m not going to tell you how to live your life because I don’t really care, because I am totally self-absorbed and I accept that about myself, and you should, too. About me, I mean. I don’t care what you accept about your own self. It’s just one of those weird before/after realizations, where life is one way before and another way after. Like when I found out the plural of beef is beeves. You can’t come back from that shit, you know?
When I started working at the coffee shop, the girl who was training me made sure to point out the regular customers and their regular orders. It helps, a bit, when you’re very busy, and you see someone you are familiar with come in, and you can just tack their drinks onto the end of the chain you’re making and ring them out when you get a second. The way this coffee shop operates is that one person works alone from open to close, so when it gets busy, little things like that aid you in keeping things moving along.
The coffee shop is located on a military base, so, you know, I see a lot of military people. Not just USAF, though. There’s Italians, British, Germans, and French, as well. Groups of them are really regular. Germans come in around lunch, Monday through Thursday, and they mostly drink lattes, and they take over the sitting area of the shop for 30 or 40 minutes, and it’s very reliable. A little earlier in the day, the French guys would come in. There were about 6 or 7 of them. Two would come together, and order a double espresso each. The other group would come in a bit after and order double espressos as well. All of them, double espressos, all the time.
One of them is just really friendly and chatty and was always interested to know about whoever was working there, talk about what he likes about New Mexico, how it’s different from France. He wanted to know what our husbands did and talk about what he did (a fighter pilot). And another was very big and very gruff, and he would sometimes drink 4 double espressos in a day. IN A DAY!
Anyway, these French guys, they were the first guys I got to “know” working there. I knew their drink (singular, because they all want double espressos, all the time) and they knew the exact cost, but I would always ask them what they were having, and they would pretend like they might order something else. “Oh, hmm… double espresso?” And they would put their change out on the counter and count it out together and pay in exact change every time, and I’m not communicating this well, but they’re adorable and I really enjoyed them and how reliable they are.
As you can probably tell by my awkward switching back and forth between present and past tense – because they still ARE French guys and they still DO drink double espressos – the French have left. In the last couple of days they were here, they were paying in more and more coins, trying to shed all of their American money. One said they were leaving soon, and it turned out to be within a couple of days, then they started coming in out of uniform, as they were preparing to leave, and then one by one they would tell me it was the last time they were coming in.
The big guy came in for the last time on Tuesday, and he walked in and kind of just spread out his arms, like, “Well.” And I was so bummed. I don’t even know how to explain. I put an extra shot in his cup and slipped my own $.75 into the register, which is not something I do, because I can’t be buying drinks all the time for people or I would be poor. I didn’t even tell him I did it, I just did it because I wanted to, and whether he noticed or not, who knows, because he was The Last French Guy, all of his friends had already flown out and he wasn’t hanging around in the shop like he had every single day since I started working there. I asked him if he wanted his receipt, like I always do and he always declined, and he declined this time, too. I guess he was not especially interested in making his last visit symbolic, because of course not, these guys travel a lot and this was just another coffee shop on yet another base. The really nice guy told me that one of them was going home and then deploying 15 days later, and the rest would likely be deploying in a month or so, so they are busy guys, those French Air Force guys.
It is kind of ridiculous how bummed out I have been about the fact that they’re gone. Today was the first shift I worked with No French Guys, and it wasn’t weird or notable, except that I only had to refill my espresso beans just one time instead of two or three or four. And more French guys will be coming in a month or so, and I expect my espresso sales will go back up to former levels, but they will not be the same French guys, so they will not be MY French guys, and I don’t know, I think this has given me unexpected ennui.
I remember my first non-training solo encounter with one of the French guys, and he was very nice, and when he left, he said, “Good bye, madame,” and I was so fucking charmed, I texted Noemi immediately to tell her, because, I don’t know, she’s French, they’re French, and I’m really only capable of the most basic of social connections. One of the girls I have trained recently is a lesbian and I’m surprised I haven’t texted Noemi about that, too. “Hey, I met a lesbian! You’re a lesbian!” and then the conversation would peter out from there because that’s really all there is to say about that.
But the French guys. Maybe because they were the first customers I knew? But I also know a lot of the Germans quite well – and by know, I mean, I recognize them and they recognize me (probably because I am dependably behind the counter and making coffee for them), but I don’t know their names and they don’t know mine (I mean, I assume – theirs are on their uniforms as is my own, but I haven’t registered them so I assume they are the same). And I would miss the Germans, if they left, which, you know, I don’t know if and when they will or when new Germans will rotate in. And the French guys weren’t the only customers I know. There’s a really lovely gentleman who comes in three or four times a week and he wants black iced coffee, the cup filled to the top with ice and as much coffee as I can get around the ice, and then he will put the lid on it himself, and when he sees I’m busy, he reaches around the register to lay $3.05 on it and hangs back to wait patiently. If I’m very busy, he makes sure to compliment what a great job I do, and today, he took the time to tell me that the girl I trained recently, who worked her first solo shift yesterday so I could get a day off, after only one real day of training – that girl – he took the time to tell me that she had done a wonderful job and “tell her we’re all proud of her.” How fucking adorable is that.
I love the coffee shop. I really, really do. I especially love the regular customers, because they are so regular and dependable and unfailingly kind and understanding that this coffee shop is a one lady show. When I kind of “took possession” of the coffee shop, though – it’s not mine, it’s just that as the regular part-time person now, who gets the bulk of the hours, I don’t just come in and work a shift anymore, but am now also responsible for doing all the ordered and dealing with the vendors and making sure everything is running when I am not there, so it feels like mine and my boss treats it like it is mine – when I took it, there were The French Guys, and they have been a massive part of this whole thing. And it doesn’t sound like a whole thing, because it is just a job, but what had happened was I started working at first in December, and I was also hired for another job, off base, at a coffee shop in a bookstore. I told my boss about needing to schedule around another job, and she said she’d wished she’d known I wanted to work in a coffee shop, because they needed someone in our coffee shop. Things worked out so that I didn’t take the one off base and trained to work as kind of a respite type of help in this coffee shop instead, and that started in January. By February, I was working there 2 and a half days a week by myself, and by the end of March, it was my coffee shop. It feels like a whole thing, because it happened kind of fast and now I am kind of a mini-boss of the place, like one of the “your princess is in another castle” Bowsers, and it’s nice, really. I genuinely liked coming in and working a shift at whichever restaurant I was meant to be in that day and going home, but it’s also nice to have a feeling of ownership over this little shop and my boss empowers me to really just do what needs to be done and trusts me to just Handle Things, and that’s nice, too. It’s responsibility, but not Responsibility. I guess it depends on how you look at it. It’s manageable responsibility. Comfortable responsibility. Busy and vital, but not stressful responsibility.
Right, so, when I got the coffee shop, there were The French Guys, and now there are not, and it’s so unexpectedly a thing, I just wanted to write it down. They were here and now they’re not, and I am very, very, mildly bereft.
I have been very tired lately. Not, like, the most tired person who was ever tired ever, but some schedule changes and whatnot have just… made me tired. I moved into a different job, sort of, at work, which would be tedious (to you) to explain, but I’m working more and I like it. I like my job. I don’t hate going there. I had a job, a long while back, that was a very tedious job and very demanding at certain times of the year (THIS TIME OF THE YEAR, if you recall my job at the accounting firm), but you know, I never hated going to work. Even when we were working 10+ hours a day every single day of the week, I just didn’t hate it. I was tired, and it was stressful, but it didn’t make me hate my life. I didn’t realize that, though, until I had a job, the one after that, that did make me hate my life, made me a truly miserable, unhappy person, a person who was completely consumed by the disgusting terribleness that job pushed into all areas of my existence. After that, I had the realization, eventually, that most people probably do at some point, that it’s TOTALLY FINE not to love your job. If you don’t flat out hate going there every day, you’re probably doing all right. And right now, I wouldn’t say I LOVE LOVE my job, but I don’t hate it and I don’t mind going there at all, so I’m doing just fine.
When I’m tired, though, when I’m really, really tired like I am now – okay, I’ll tell you part of it, because it’s my blog and I can be tedious, and it’s not like it’s a secret or anything, it’s just boring life details – I had been intermittent part time (anywhere from 0 – 29 hours a week) in one location and was trained to work in another as well. The girl who worked in the other (it’s a coffee shop) had to leave for child care reasons, so my boss asked me to apply for the regular part time (35 hours) position there. So I did, and I got it, and it’s nice, though I miss going back and forth between the two locations because I liked the variety and I like the work better at the coffee shop, but the fast pace better at the other shop. This is a military base and this is also food service, so people are in and out a lot, as you expect, and situations worked out that I was essentially the only person left able to work in the coffee shop at all. Someone else has been hired and can start in a week or two, and another girl was/is being trained to do like I did and work between a couple different places, so that’s good, but for a while here it’s been just me, so I’ve worked quite a bit. I have felt weird complaining, especially to my husband who has always just, you know, worked, about working 5 or 6 eight hour days in a row like it’s some kind of super taxing schedule, which it’s not, it’s not even close to how I used to work, but I haven’t worked outside the home in years and I spent a couple of those years sleeping and I stand all day, and I don’t know. You’re not going to make me defend the fact that working all day makes me tired, are you? If I promise that I understand that there are certainly people with harder jobs who work more hours and have more kids and extra jobs and all of that who are probably more tired than me? I promise I do know that, and I promise I feel the adequate dash of shame when I think about how tired I am.
Anyway, so I work most days from 6:30am until 2:45-ish, depending on how fast I can close things up, and that’s a pretty good schedule, I think. I like the hours. I mean, I don’t like getting up that early, but I like being done for the day that early, so it’s a fair trade. The issue is, though, that Phil has switched to swing shift for a bit, so when I am coming home and pulling into the driveway at 2:45, he is pulling in right behind me with Penelope, collected from school/daycare, handing her off, and going to work until 11pm or so. We’re really pretty much on waving terms these days. And you know, that’s fine, too, because this schedule isn’t permanent, and he’s been actually gone-gone for longer than this schedule will probably last. But it started around the time that my new schedule started, and also Penny’s “spring break,” which wasn’t really so much a spring break as it was just a week off from pre-k – she still went to daycare. Which is convenient. Except they take naps in daycare. So for that whole week, she was coming home WELL RESTED, which is a nice change from the exhausted and whiny child who normally comes home, but not so great when you worked on your feet all day and your feet HURT and your husband is at work and she has no intention of going to sleep any earlier than 11pm. Maybe.
Anyway, that’s all to say, or to justify, maybe, the fact that I am just tired. And when I’m tired, I want to complain. Just in general. All the things I want to talk about are complaints. I don’t spend my entire day complaining or whining, but when I look at the Internet, I just want to complain about shit at length, so I mostly just haven’t been on the Internet too much, because I used to be comfortable complaining about whatever was bothering me that day and moving on, but over time I became aware of the fact that as far as a lot of people know or care, what you blog is who you are, entirely, and if I was to complain here and on Twitter, then for all intents and purposes for a lot of people, I am someone who does nothing but complain all the time, and while I know that’s not true, and even if it was partially true, it has become less true as years have gone on, having people think that about me just makes me want to complain about the injustice of it all, so you see the loop I become trapped in there. But you know, it’s been a while, and I’m tired, and Penelope is going to be awake for like 80 more hours, so I’m going to just go ahead and tell you some of my recent complaints, but to make myself feel better about my perfectly justified complaining, I will insert one good thing after every complaint.
FIRST COMPLAINT. Is not about working moms vs stay at home moms, but is somewhat related, in the ways of attitudes and all. You know some people are never going to be okay with working moms, and some people are never going to be okay with stay at home moms. There are those not okay people. But let’s assume that the majority of normal people are fine with whatever you want to do and whatever works for your family and honestly don’t give a fat fuck either way. This is something that is bothering me, though. There’s this whole other attitude about working, sort of, that if you’re going to work, your job should be at least good. And my job, to some people, would not be considered good. I do work for an hourly wage in food service. And you know what, like I detailed above, I like it. I tried stay at home mom-ing. I tried working from home and have done that on and off for the last seven or so years to pretty decent success. I just didn’t want to do those things anymore. And I’ve worked in an office and “used” my college degree and all of that, but after my last experience with that, I didn’t want to do that anymore, either. I wanted to work, but I didn’t want any real responsibility. I don’t want to take work home with me or get my work email on my phone or talk to anyone from my job when I am not actually, physically at my job. I didn’t want to get involved in long projects or make important decisions or be in charge of anyone or anything, really. And I found something that works for that. When I first started working again, at the end of last year, I was making pretty much exactly enough money to pay for Penny’s daycare and nothing more. I make a bit more now, with the more hours, but in reality, if we’re speaking in terms of financial sense only, it makes the MOST financial sense for me to not work and to keep Penelope home with me, childcare costs and all that being what they are. I’m not going to do that, though, because I get more out of my job than money. No real deep satisfaction and personal fulfillment or anything like that, but I LIKE working for a paycheck and I’ve found a spot that meets all my requirements for that.
Penelope was on Facetime with my parents a couple of weeks ago and I offhandedly explained, just lightly, that I really like my job and could easily see doing something like this forever, because… I don’t know, I think I’ve adequately explained myself through the rest of this post, and my mom said, “Oh, well, that’s not a very good idea,” in a way that implied that it wasn’t okay to just be an hourly food service worker forever, that it was fine for now, but of course at some point I’d have to do something else, and just… why? Why would I have to do something else? What would the something else be? If it works for my personal family that I get to work at a job I don’t hate for not really great money, then why isn’t it a good idea? It’s not a good idea, probably, because the sort of job I am working is not really one that college graduates are supposed to be working, maybe? Or maybe because I used to have office jobs that seemed higher status? (They weren’t – I didn’t wear a uniform and a visor to work at them, but it was just grunt work in a different environment, and I actually have more responsibility/autonomy at this job than I did at a couple of my others.) I guess it comes down to some kind of perceptions about this kind of job vs that kind of job, but I really couldn’t give a rat’s ass about it, because did you see up there? Where I wrote about not hating my life? I realize it’s totally a luxury to work at a low paying job that doesn’t make me hate my life, and I get that, I really do, but why shouldn’t I get to do that if I can? I’m working, I’m getting paid real money for real work. Why can’t I do it forever if I want to, MOM? If you’re reading this, MOM, that was a shitty thing to say and you should apologize. Also apologize to my sister because I told her you said that and that made it double rude, considering she has happily worked at a restaurant for the last thousand years. RUDE.
Okay, here’s a good thing. I am enjoying the HELL out of my scooter. I ride it to and from work because we only have one car and it is just a goddamned delight. I encourage everyone to get one.
THIS IS ANOTHER COMPLAINT. I know I have complained about this before but every once in a while my fury is brought up anew, and it’s about lady grooming standards. Really, it’s about the fact that there are lady grooming standards. You know, I’m going to allow for the fact that there are some raised eyebrows when a woman doesn’t shave her legs or her armpits. I get that that can seem weird. I’m not saying I PERSONALLY think it’s weird – you go on with your razor-free lifestyle. It’s fine. It’s a thing, but it doesn’t strictly need to be a thing. What ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT EVER BE A THING is the idea that there is some kind of widely accepted standard for ANYTHING covered by a bathing suit. “Well, it’s a hygiene issue.” No, it’s not. “It’s fine to not go bare, but you need to at least trim.” I DON’T NEED TO DO SHIT. “Personally, I just won’t date women who don’t clean up down there.” One, it’s not dirty, and two, those women don’t want to date you, either. “It’s fine to not shave but you should know the labor nurses WILL make fun of you.” No they will not, because what kind of hellish seawitch makes fun of a giant pregnant lady who doesn’t want to wave a razor near her parts when she hasn’t even seen those parts in months, and even if they DID, fuck them, they’re terrible people and no one cares what terrible people think because they’re terrible.
I’m not even upset about this because it strikes too close to home or anything. At various times in my life I have engaged in various styles of personal grooming and I expect my preferences and level of give a fuck will continue to fluctuate as time goes on. The aggravation is with the idea that there is some assumed basic level of pube-keeping. Like if you look at some stranger on the street, wearing jeans and a t-shirt, you might feel safe to assume she shaves her legs, shaves under her arms, and forms a nice lady hedge once a week or so. Like there are people who assume that that is just what’s done, and anyone not doing that is an aberration of some kind, when there should be ABSOLUTELY NO ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT A PERSON’S GENITAL UPKEEP, OTHER THAN MAYBE, YOU KNOW, CLEAN. If you get right down to it, there shouldn’t really be an assumption about whether or not a lady is going to shave her legs or shave under her arms and which of those decisions is right and which is wrong, and maybe I’m just being held down by the societal man, but I am way more accepting of those assumed standards (not that I personally keep them or don’t keep them with any strict regularity, I do what I want, just like everyone should) than I am of the idea that anyone feels that EVERY WOMAN EVER should be sticking to a certain pubical guidebook, and not only that they should, but that most DO. It’s the ASSUMPTION. THE ASSUMPTION IS UPSETTING TO ME, UNENDINGLY. I have said before, every lady is free to do whatever the hell she wants, and every dude or other lady or variety of whichever type and combination of sex, gender, and body type that is themselves interested in sexually interacting with a vagina can certainly express a PREFERENCE, like I have a preference for big fat dudes, but I am married to a not big, not fat guy and that’s fine because YOU GET WHAT YOU GET AND YOU DON’T GET UPSET, ESPECIALLY when the possessor of said vagina is going to let you GET ALL UP IN IT. If I let you stay in my guest room (I don’t have a guest room), are you going to take a look around and be like, “Well, I’ll stay here, but from here on out you need to paint it green.” NO. YOU WOULDN’T BE LIKE THAT. BECAUSE THAT IS HOW INSANE PEOPLE ACT. And that example is about PAINT. In a ROOM. NOT A VAGINA. You can prefer green til your tits fall off, but to get mad when I’m like yeah, no, I’m not painting my cooch green for you, tough luck is just EGREGIOUS AND OVER THE LINE.
Here’s a good thing. Four is a good age. Penelope is super enjoyable right now. She’s also really, really, really trying our patience on a regular basis. I mean, to insane levels, having to leave the room and tap out for the other parent, taking deep breaths to calm the rage, more yelling than feels should be necessary, but EVEN WITH THAT, four is really good. She’s quick and funny and really, really kind and thoughtful. She’s almost five now, so I expect it will all be over soon. Maybe four seems so great because Timehop is regularly reminding me of the flat out INSANITY of two year old Penelope, which, even looking back on the evidence, does not seem like it could have been real, when I was regularly coaching myself through the day by reminding myself that it was just a phase, not her actual personality, just a phase, not her actual personality. Holy shit. Two year old Penelope. Maybe she’s still that challenging but two year old Penelope broke us and all we ask for four year old Penelope is that she not burn down the house, but whatever. Having a four year old is, overall, pretty fun.
I put off this post so long for not wanting to write a whole pile of complaints that I can’t actually remember any of my other complaints. There’s a complaint. I want to just be able to complain without worrying that people will think I do nothing but complain. Yes that is what I did in this post. No that is not what I did all day today. Actually, I got a massage today because I finally got a day off. No complaints there. It made me think about pubes a lot, though, so probably just fanned the fires.