Tuesday, June 26, 2012

TOOLBAG TUESDAY

Remember how you used to make fun of those couples who walked down the street with their hands in each other’s back pockets?

Right.

That, and variations of that, still make some people uncomfortable.

And by people, I don’t mean those who have to witness it.

I mean the girls who have to ward off that type of PDA.

A few times, I, for one, had to sternly say, “Yo! Lobster fingers!” to a guy who would pinch my ass Every. Single. Time. I walked in front of him…in public…in daylight...on the street.

What's wrong with holding hands at 1 p.m.??

THERE ARE CHILDREN PRESENT!!

My friend Jessica had to deal with someone like this recently, although her experience was a lot more annoying.

Brandon was this guy Jessica met at a bar where his rugby team was celebrating a win. 

They caught each other’s eye and started talking about his team, what she does, how long she’s lived in town and other spark-worthy topics.

After almost TWO HOURS talking and drinking, the team decided to move the party back to a nearby player’s house and pick up beer. Brandon invited Jessica.

“Please come,” he said. “It’s not that far! I really want to hang out with you some more!”

Jessica agreed excitedly and on the drive had thoughts of Brandon and his hot rugby body as her new boyfriend.

She got to the party where the team welcomed her and gave her a beer.

That’s when Brandon led Jessica into the living room, of NOT his house, and pulled her onto the couch and they started kissing. He was a good kisser and Jessica was enjoying herself.

“Do you want to give each other massages?” he asked.

“What? Here?” she said.

“Yea,” he said. “Turn around.”

Jessica pivoted on the couch, suddenly realizing that they were in someone else’s house on the couch and she felt kinda weird about it. And she really didn’t want some sort of sensual massage at that moment.

But she let him rub her shoulders as she made a joke or something and then (duh) he slipped down her spaghetti straps and kissed her neck.

Really. 10 seconds in.

She visibly shook him off, turning around and said, “hey, wait, people might walk in!”

She tried to act coy.

“I mean, I like you and all, but this would be really weird for someone to walk in and see," Jessica said. She pulled up her straps.

“It doesn’t matter,” he said, kissing her neck again. His hands were close to her boobs this time and creeping up, and now she was in an even more embarrassingly compromising position.

She imagined the guy who lived there, or his girlfriend, walking in and seeing her top half off. She’d be so mortified.

“No, this isn’t the right…time,” Jessica said. “I don’t want to hook up with you on your friend’s couch when there are like 20 people outside who could walk in,” she said.

“Fine,” he said, almost mad.

“Well, I’m…gonna go then,” Jessica said, picking up her purse, waiting for him to protest.

He sat there in silence.

DUDE! DID THOSE LAST TWO HOURS MEAN NOTHING??

She stood there, waiting.

Bye,” the whiny a-hole said, staring straight ahead. He then let her walk out the door and to her car by herself.

Which, at least, was less embarrassing than being on that couch.

-Jenny

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

TOOLBAG TUESDAY

Even if the only reason why you want to go out with a girl is to bang her, at least pretend to be polite about it.

Right??

I find it hard to believe that a guy can’t at least muscle through a beer at a bar.

Or is that too much to ask these days??
...Evan???

Evan is this guy who my friend Shannon met at the mall last week (details surrounding why she was at a mall and getting guys’ numbers are unclear).

Evan was cute, very much her type and actually stopped her outside BCBG to tell her how pretty she was and how her EYES WERE JUST GORGEOUS and insisted she take his business card.  

Flattered, she took it and then gave him her number. He said he'd give her a call sometime to "grab a beer."
Shannon was excited.

Two days later, Shannon didn’t want to wait anymore and called him and left a nice message about how it was great meeting him.

He called back an hour later (swoon) and she said they had a great conversation about where they lived, their work, and other random things.

Then came the inevitable, “Let’s hang out. What do you want to do?”

Shannon suggested they go grab a beer somewhere, like he had suggested in the mall, but Evan countered with a SUPER SUBTLE “maybe you could come over and hang out at my house tonight?”

“I told him that, as a girl, I feel a little uncomfortable about going to a guy’s house before I know him well, but I'd love to hang out and grab a beer somewhere,” Shannon recalls.

(After school specials really DO carry over into adulthood!!!)

Evan said he “totally understood” and it was OK, "love," he just couldn’t make it out that night because he was too tired from a long work week.

“How about a rain check?” Evan asked. “How about Saturday?”

Shannon said Saturday was perfect.

But Friday, Evan called with "bad news." He was going to have to cancel their plans because he forgot there were soccer games on TV all day and he had to stay home and watch them.

Shannon raised one eyebrow into the phone.

“But, if you want to pick up some beers and come over, that would be awesome,” he said, not even asking her if she liked watching televised soccer.

“Um, thanks for the offer, and I would love to hang out, but I would really like to get to know you first before coming over to your house,’” Shannon said.

GAW I HATE WHEN YOU HAVE TO REPEAT COMMON SENSE TWICE.

Yet this time, Evan didn’t “understand” at all.

"I promise I am not going to try anything,” he said, almost immediately.

“I appreciate that, but I really just don't feel right going to someone’s house I don't know,” Shannon said.

Then Evan said, "I just don’t understand why you feel that way. It's odd."

ODD.

(Gotta give it to him, though, watching soccer on TV would be the quickest way to get ME into bed. zzzzzzzzzz.)

Shannon again nicely suggested they hang out somewhere, uh, in public, and Evan finally said that was fine.

“I’ll call you back after the games are over to figure out where we’re going to go,” he said.

Shannon mentally picked out a cute outfit and put on some makeup.

But the shithead never called.

Even now, a week later.

I like to think he just never woke up.

-Jenny

Monday, June 18, 2012

I get by with a little (tent space) from my friends

The thing about camping - the thing nobody tells you - is that you will rely on a lot of other people for things you forgot.

These could be small things, like borrowing a head lamp for when you need to pee by a tree in the dark.

(Or, uh, borrowing toilet paper.)

It could be borrowing a big spoon from someone because how else are you going to stir your Zatarain’s gumbo on a burner??

Or...let’s see...it could be borrowing...a tent.

Yes, this is how my best friend Meredith and I traveled to a canoe/camping adventure over Memorial Day: very...light.

It’s not like we forgot to bring a tent.

It’s that someone said they had a 10-person tent and extra room and crashing in it sounded a lot easier than bringing our own tent and figuring out how to put all the poles through the top to set it up.

Anyway.

Have you ever been canoe camping? It's where you canoe to your camping spot. I had not been before this trip and took MUCH too lightly (no pun intended) the, “you will get water in your canoe so pack a dry bag” memo.

My, what compact bags you have!! Oh, nevermind. You don’t have any.

So, naturally, I had to borrow someone’s dry bag.

I’m normally not a dumbass who doesn’t know how to pack a camping bag.
Just ask my ex-boyfriend, who was an avid camper and, in turn, made me somewhat of an avid camper.

Really! Ask him! I NEVER forgot the wine.

The thing is, when you just start out camping, or haven’t been camping in a while, you forget the little things that make life easier in the great outdoors.

Like a hammock.
Or batteries for your flashlight.
Or...more than one towel.

OR WATERPROOF SHOES FOR WHEN YOU HAVE TO PUSH YOUR CANOE OFF ROCKS. (The pads of my feet hate me).

All these things (in addition to the tent) were things I personally forgot to bring, seeing as I hadn’t been camping in a year, but it turns out, it was totally fine.

Because the other thing you don’t realize about camping – the thing nobody tells you – is that your friends somehow transform into super effing capable outdoorsmen.

It’s true!!!

Even me!!! Yet, that only applied to my superb canoe skills. I still had to tent hop.

But I always love figuring out who the badass camping chefs are, or the ones who pick out awesome camping spots and set up tents and build fires and find sticks and climb cliffs.
And you always get to know someone a bit better than before, thanks to your shared experience of flipping a canoe.

Even the friends you would normally consider wimpy!!! They’re the ones thigh-deep in waiters, fly fishing!!!  WITH NO FISHING PERMIT (insert voice of third grade class: "ohhhhhhhhhhh")

On this particular canoe/camping trip, a group of guys actually hacked up a poisonous snake with an axe. They spotted it lurking on the bank of the river and eliminated it.

For real. I saw the whole thing.
It was mortifying.

You realize which of your friends know what food is the best to eat on a camping stove and which one of your friends packs nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for three days (Meredith).

You realize how generous and kind people are when they notice you don’t have a dry bag, or a tent, or any more beer.

Now that I think about it, unless you’re some sort of serial killer hiding out in the woods, going camping means you’re lucky.

It means that you have people who want to hang out with you while fighting nature’s elements for days at a time with no break.

People who trust that you don't accidentally kill yourself.

And people who you want to make memories with.


Like so.

Because camping is not something you do alone after all (OMG never camp alone. Bears.)

But who would want to camp alone anyway??

I mean, SOMEONE needs to bring the tent.

And wine.


-Jenny

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

TOOLBAG TUESDAY

Unwritten rule of society #2,345:

If your girlfriend’s roommate’s is in her assigned bedroom and when you walk by you see through the crack in her door that she’s changing clothes, you may not presume to be a disgusting peeping Tom.

Of course, this is exactly what (let’s just call him) Tom did to my friend Kelly, and he had pressed his head against her bedroom door so hard that it actually came ajar, mid-panty change.

That’s odd, Kelly thought, looking around for her cat, who often came in and out of her room. She didn't see the cat, and then thought nothing of it, but remembers it distinctly.

Then Tom sold himself out.

A few months later, there came a point where Kelly’s roommate was proposing that Tom move in with them (of course, he wouldn't technically be on the lease and wouldn't be responsible for any sort of deposit.)

But he’d split the bills, kill roaches, etc.

Kelly agreed, since Tom already spent every single night anyway so why not take a rent cut.

That’s when Tom, HER NEW ROOMMATE, sat on the couch with her one day, just the two of them, and said, “Yea, I pushed your door open when you were changing the other day, but it’s OK, don’t feel weird about it. I was turned on.”

UM.

WHAT

HE WAS TURNED ON??  BY SPYING ON SOMEONE UNKNOWINGLY??....WHO WAS HIS GIRLFRIEND’S ROOMMATE??

AND SHE SHOULDN'T FEEL WEIRD ABOUT IT???

As Kelly recalls, “I almost threw up.”

I mean, really.
WTF.

Was he fishing for some sort of threesome?? Because I know no one who would be down for that with their boyfriend and roommate…especially under those circumstances.

(God, I never knew how much I liked Tom until I caught him spying on me naked!!! How flattering!!!!
NOT.)

Kelly didn’t know how to tell her roommate that Tom was a big fat perv, so in typical fashion she let it slip one day when they were drunk.

The roommate was livid. She called Tom into the room and screamed at him. There were a lot of “WTF’s” and “What else are you doing” acusations as Kelly slowly went to her (semi-private?) bedroom.

Kelly was furious when she overheard Tom say that SHE, KELLY, “needed to be more 'aware,' because if I can see in her room, she should lock her door.”

Right...because obviously this was HER bad. She MADE it so Tom had no choice but to stand right by her door and push it open...with his face.

Kelly was then devastated as Tom "talked her out of" kicking him out.

TWO TOOLBAGS!!!

So…if anyone has a nice one bedroom available for rent…with blinds…

-Jenny

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Camp Chronicles

During my formative years, my twin sister, Joy, and brother Franklin went to a summer arts camp and did remarkable things like make movies, build robots and stilt walk.

In a painting class I took one year, all 20 of us campers walked two blocks away to a large, family house and spent the month painting a bedroom for a newborn baby with clouds, a moon and stars.

(The art teacher pushed all our paint and brushes in a cart.)

It was called Country Day Creative Arts Camp and it sent us booklets in the mail each year before camp started, and we could pick the top TEN classes we wanted from the 30 or so offerings (yoga, juggling, tennis, fencing, movie making, mosaics.)

It was like the continuing education classes I fantasize about taking in the brochures I get from the community college: intro to gardening, sewing, intro to knife and chopping skills ( To properly slice meat in front of company, of course.)

Picking classes at Country Day Creative Arts summer camp was like that, only free reign to choose whatever I wanted to do all summer! And I got to take five classes!

Joy and I almost always picked the same classes, which included swimming (held at the backyard swimming pool of another large family house two blocks away), pottery, musical and cooking. 

(Seriously. Cooking. In the school’s massive cafeteria. We took turns pretending to lock each other inside the walk-in freezer.)

The musical class put on a full-length musical at the end of every summer, an HOUR-LONG performance, with memorized lines and elaborate costumes.

I remember being a camper, blissfully switching classes every hour, excited about what we were going to do in the next class.

On the first day, all 300 campers met in the auditorium and were told that year’s theme.

Also exciting was gathering together on the first day of camp to hear about the camp's theme each year. It was a theme that all classes would touch upon in their class projects for the final festival at the end of camp.

The festival was on a Saturday, and all of our parents and friends were invited to see our artwork, hear our musical performances and watch the play.

One year, the theme was "dreams," so all the classes worked on a final project that had something to do with dreams. 
It was, unknowingly at the time, genius.

The movie class made a movie about one camper’s “nightmare” and filmed the main character and supporting characters in different parts of the camp wearing crazy masks.

The basket weaving instructor had everyone make dreamcatchers that were displayed hanging on the oak trees during the festival.

It gave the camp a sense of purpose: finish each project in time for the festival in order to showcase it.

And we were tricked into learning. 

Thrown into the classes were the history of the art form, proper texture painting techniques, a sense of a deadline and teamwork. They even worked math in there. Bastards.

When we got too old to be campers, we were asked if we wanted to "intern" and all three of us did. 
The second year, we even got paid.

Not surprisingly, I chose to pair with the writing/poetry teacher. I must have been 13 or 14. 

The theme that year was Indian princess, because “an Indian princess went missing in New Orleans” campers were told, and the whole camp had to make projects that reflected Indian culture in order to "lure her back.” 
(Hahahahaha)

I helped the kids who signed up for writing class write poems about India and stories of where they would go if they were lost wandering around New Orleans. (There was a poetry reading at the end of camp.)

It was a ridiculously good idea for a camp, which I never realized from my camper purview. 
Until this week.

Because this week, THIS WEEK, I was the teacher.
It's not the same camp, but it's still a camp, with a writing class, that kids sign up for, and I'M their fearless leader.

Campers got to pick three classes they wanted to take each day, from newspaper (me! The laid-off editor!!!), puppetry, art, African dance and drumming and hip-hop.

How I got these elementary school kids to pick newspaper from those options is beyond me.

The goal is to publish a newspaper about the camp written by the students at the end of the month. 
It needs to be finished and published by the day of the final performance, to distribute to all the parents.

And I’ve been having a panic attack every day.

An internal panic attack of course, as I coaxed the kids into interviewing each other, moderated "newspaper bingo" and started a rousing game of mad libs, where they had to come up with their own nouns, adjectives and adverbs to insert into a fake "sick note" to the nurse.

They all seemed to have fun learning new words and being little reporters, but really, really they were learning about Indian princesses grammar and subject verb agreement.

I didn’t mention to my boss who hired me for this summer camp mission that I went to a camp like this, or how much fun I had.

And, woah, it was SO MUCH MORE FUN being on the other side.

I’ve been spending my days planning lessons to keep the campers entertained, laying out a calendar of what articles need to be written on what days and ways tol trick convince them to write.

Being a teacher was never my career plan, and I’m not going to lie, I’ve been taking over-the-counter Tagamet for heartburn/WhatAmISupposedToDoWithTheseKids syndrome.

Because I remember how I felt as a camper and how important each class seemed. And I’ve been putting an enormous amount on pressure on myself to emulate the Country Day Creative Arts teachers with fun, (seeming) effortless daily lessons. 

Which is why the Tagament is clutched in my right hand.

I've got all that, in addition to learning other things about being a teacher, like if kids say “shut up” to one another, it should be treated with the same severity as if they said the "F" word.

Or, if you tell a kid he can be “first” in a game, then you better make effing sure he goes first because if you forget and call on someone else first, he'll starts to cry.

Oh, and you need to BRING YOUR OWN LUNCH to camp.

Yes, I forgot my lunch the first day, thinking I could run over to a take-out restaurant, à la my old office life.
No. It's a lock-in.
The first day of camp, I had a bottle of water for lunch.

After tomorrow, I have three weeks left to bust out a newspaper. 

And teach the kids how to write. 
And read. 
And form sentences.

Maybe next week, maybe I'll have them write about what they’d do if they found themselves lost, wandering around New Orleans.

-Jenny

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

TOOLBAG TUESDAY

Most people have a story about their worst date ever.

Perhaps yours is a date who gets completely wasted before the appetizer arrives.

Or opens the date with a terrible racist joke.

Or…I don’t know…CRIES as he tells you he’s going through an “epic meltdown” and “a quarter life crisis.”
On a first date.

So was the case with my friend Mary last week, who went out with Russell, a friend of a friend who she met at a pool party.

Russell invited Mary out on his friend’s boat the following week, and she was excited.

He was cute and she hadn’t been out with anyone in awhile. And all of his friends, she noticed on Facebook, who were also going on the boat, were super cute. (options…)

Mary said they all had a great time drinking on the boat all day and Russell was actually cracking her up with his drunk stories.

Once they finished the boat ride, Russell asked Mary if she wanted to grab dinner and she agreed wholeheartedly.

Yet things started to go sour right off the bat when Russell couldn’t walk in a straight line to his car.

“I can drive,” Mary offered. She had left her car at a different spot from where the boat docked and assumed Russell would be able to bring her back to her car after dinner.

“Well, if it makes you more comfortable, FINE,” he said.

They agreed on a restaurant, but on the way there, Russell suddenly remembered something.

“I have to go pick up my dog,” he said. “I had to leave him at my friend’s house because I didn’t know he wasn’t allowed on the boat.”

“Wait…so your dog is coming to dinner?” Mary asked.

“Well let’s eat somewhere with outdoor seating,” he said. So they changed venues from a nice sushi place to a counter service Mexican joint.

Humph. Ok. Whatever.

Yet before Russell could go anywhere he insisted that he needed to take a shower... "in order to sober up.”

His house was very far away and over two bridges, so Mary said he could shower at her place even though she didn’t like the idea of having to babysit his hyperactive Jack Russell terrier while also convincing herself that a shower would make him sober.

A HALF HOUR LATER, he emerged from the bathroom.
“OK, let’s go!” he said.

(He later admitted at dinner that he took a big dump before he took a shower, laughing. Um. That’s definitely more of a confession on a third date, if at all.)

The "epic meltdown" began as they headed for the restaurant, with his dog, when he suddenly pulled into an empty bank parking lot and said, “Oh, shit.”

“What?” Mary said.

“I just ran out of gas.”

“What???”

It was almost nine o’clock on a Sunday.
So there they were, a half mile from the restaurant, with his dog, stuck at bank parking lot.

“Should we take a cab?” Russell asked.

“A cab is not going to pick us up just to go a half mile,” Mary said.

“Well, let’s walk then!” he said.

“And just forget about your car??”

“We can stop at a gas station on the way back,” he said. 

(He later admitted at dinner that this was the SIXTH time he's run out of gas. Seriously. Hot mess.)
So that’s how Mary ended up walking a half mile on an empty stomach to a restaurant holding the leash to an out-of-control Jack Russell because the human Russell was too hammered to concentrate on anything other than walking by himself.

When they got to the restaurant, Mary stayed outside at a table with the dog while Russell went inside to order.

He came out with two margaritas.
Mary raised one eyebrow.

Seriously dude?

“Wait…you wanted the chicken quesadilla right?” Russell asked.

“Chicken nachos,” Mary said, unamused. “I told you that two minutes before you went inside to order.”

"Oh. Well that's the same thing," he said, making no attempt to go inside and change the order.

After dinner and downing TWO margaritas, Russell had to face reality again and figure out what he was going to do about his car. 

He suddenly got depressed.

“WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?” He wailed as they got up from the table.

“You said we could stop at that gas station on the way back,” Mary said, trying to be positive. “I’m sure they have little gas cans you could fill up."

He was crashing hard, yet continued on with the plan to make it to the gas station, while Mary took the dog again, without even a please or thank you.

At the gas station, Russell paid for a gas tank and filled it up, but underestimated how heavy it was and how off balance it made his walking.

Right outside the gas station, Russell missed a step on the concrete curb and went flying forward, busting his foot and spilling gas everywhere.

“OH MY GOD ARE YOU OK???” Mary screamed as the dog got anxious and started barking and jumping. Russell was laid out on the grass.

 Mary tried to pull the dog back on the leash. Blood from Russell's foot was everywhere.

“NO, I’M NOT ALLRIGHT!” Russell said, wiping tears from his face. He was also sweating profusely. “I’M HAVING AN EPIC MELTDOWN!!!”

“A what??”

“A QUARTER LIFE CRISIS!” he said.

Mary stood there with the dog, baffled.

“THIS IS SO EMBARASSING!” he wailed.

Mary didn't want to say it aloud but she wasn't exactly having an effing blast either.

“Look, can you make it to the car?" Mary asked. "It looks like you just stubbed your toe. Come on, it's getting really late."

She helped him to his feet and took the lead on getting them back to his car and filling up the gas tank herself.

Then she drove back to her house and told him to go home.

“Wait…we’re not going to sleep together?” he asked.

OMG. 
Seriously.

Mary immediately got out of the car, without so much as a glance behind her, although thinks she heard a "wait, why not?" from him.

“And then he texted me a photo of his funky ass bloody toe the next day,” she said.

God. 
Poor Mary.
And that poor dog.

-Jenny
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