Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The Jennie Monkey

I don't know why I just remembered this, but it's pretty funny and offers some insight into why men and women are doomed to torture each other, which is always a favorite topic of mine.

I'm terrible at getting presents for people on actual holidays. I don't know if it's some sort of passive aggressive rebellion against the commercialization of blah blah blah, or whether it's that I'm lazy and broke ... oh, wait. Maybe I do know what's responsible for the phenomenon. Hmm. Anyway. The point is that I rarely give gifts on time, so when I was shopping a week before last Christmas, and saw an adorable little monkey ornament in Pier 1 that I knew Isaac and Cathy would like, I was sort of proud of myself for a) finding a cute gift for Isaac and Cathy and b) finding myself doing any Christmas shopping at all, especially a week before the actual holiday. But of course I'm incapable of delaying gratification, so I gave it to them an hour after I bought it, wrapped up in tinfoil like the fruit portion of Timmy's first lunch.

None of this has anything to do with men and women and the funny funny differences between them, oh pillar of observational humor, huzzah. That comes later.

Isaac wasn't home yet when I went over to their house, so I gave the monkey to Cathy and demanded that she open it for both of them. (I told you I was bad with delayed gratification.) She opened it up and started laughing immediately.

"It's a little JENNIE MONKEY," she said. "It looks JUST LIKE YOU."

It kinda did. I mean, you know, with more fuzz and all.

"Let's put it on the tree," she said. "And make Isaac find it."

We put it on the tree, and a short while later, Isaac came home. Cathy dragged him into the livingroom and pointed at the tree.

"Our present from Jen is somewhere on this tree," she said. "And if you can't find it, it means that you don't love me anymore."

Isaac looked at her with squinty eyes, and said. "That's a girl game." Then he pointed at the tree. "And that's a Jennie monkey, right there on that branch."

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Rufus the Mouse

This Saturday I woke up at noon, the latest I've slept for God knows how long. I stayed in bed another hour, reading and wishing I had thought to buy some Diet Coke for a hangover cure. (It works almost as well as Gatorade, and doesn't taste like ass. Tell your friends.)

Finally, I dragged my ass out of bed and started thinking of all the shit I had to do. I decided not to do any of it, but to go to the Brookline Booksmith instead. This is why my apartment is a mess, and why I have more books than space on my bookshelves. Actually, part of the reason I was going to Brookline was to try to remedy the latter situation somewhat. I've had three grocery bags full of books in the trunk of my car for months now that I've been meaning to sell back to the Booksmith. Crossing this chore off my list would make me feel better about how I planned on spending the rest of the day, which was sitting around in a puddle of sunshine like a cat, reading my new books and drinking ice coffee (which is not so much like a cat, but what can you do).

So I drove over to Brookline in a much shorter amount of time than it usually takes, in less traffic than there usually is, and got a space right out front, which never happens. It was a beautiful day. I sold back some books, got some others, didn't get a parking ticket. Bliss. As I was heading back toward Rosi, however, I noticed something scampering across the windshield of my car.

A mouse. A goddamn mouse. ON MY CAR. I screamed like a twelve-year-old girl and pulled over. The mouse scampered under the hood of my car and hid there. I could see it peering out at me with its terrified little eyes.

So there I was. Standing by the side of the road. Peering under the hood of my car and jumping back to the sidewalk whenever the mouse made a move, which wasn't often, as I think he was more frightened than I was. Although, ha ha, I dunno. I kept screeching a little every time he moved, to the great merriment and occasional consternation of passersby.

My fear was that the mousie would figure out a way to squish himself through the space in the floor where the pedals came into the cabin of the car, and nibble at my feet with his horrible yellow teeth, causing me to get typhoid just like the kids in El Norte. Goddamn Spanish class. Six years of studying and I don't remember a single tense, but I'll never forget El Norte.

I thought for a minute. I clearly couldn't get back in my car. I clearly couldn't leave my car there. I had to get back to my puddle of sunshine and my loafing. I decided to do what any self-respecting girl would do. I called all the guys I know and whined into their voicemail.

"Hey, Isaac, it's Jen. Um, there's a mouse in my car? Well, okay, not in my car, per se. More on my car. Also around my car. But what I'm mostly worried about is that he'll get through my car and bite my feet with his horrible, horrible teeth. Can you call me back?"

Isaac didn't call me back. Neither did any of the other guys I called, including my Dad. I think their caller ID comes up "HUBLEY -- SHE'S INSANE." I don't blame them, really, for not wanting to man the hotline on a gorgeous summer day.

Anyway, as I was standing there, wondering what to do, I heard a little squeak or something and looked down, and there was my little friend, scampering off into the bushes. I spent another minute or two debating whether or not it was the mouse, until I realized that that really was insane, and that of course it was the same mouse, and that the odds of there being two identical mice crawling around my car were pretty slim. So I got back in my rodent-free vehicle and drove back home with a light heart. Sort of. Every couple of feet or so, I'd think I felt something biting my feet, but since I'm used to being crazy, I didn't worry about it too much.

On the way home I decided his name is Rufus. I'm sure he won't mind.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

I couldn't invent this

I received this letter from a person today:

Jeez, I ain't got that long to live to date your way. So I have a proposal. Lets meet up, check out the chemistry, if it's oozing. Then have wanton sex where we can,(behind a building, in a garage), go have some drinks, play some pool, eat and crash somewhere, wake up and start talking about the things that really matter to us. Cause only after sex does any of it matter. If we meet and it ain't happening, wwe'l have a code. I'll look you dead in the eyes and say 'I have to go to the bathroom' and pat U on the hand, and while I'm gone U dissapear. and everyone is hapy

I know that that this would make me 'hapy'. I mean, honest to God, what girl could ask for more?

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Tracks of the North American Little Foot

There's nothing that makes me quite so happy as discovering a new way to torment someone I love, so I was very pleased when I discovered that my friend Cathy is horrified by my feet.

Before you get grossed out, let me assure you: There's nothing wrong with my feet. My OCD wouldn't allow me to run around unwashed, with poorly groomed toes. In the summertime, I even wear polish on my nails. No, what freaked Cathy out about my feet wasn't their condition. It was worse than that. What freaked Cathy out about my feet was how they are, just naturally, which is very wide, very small, and very distinctly, um, articulated in the toe area.

I've always been very proud of my feet. At one time, I could pick up a nickel with my big toe and second toe, almost as easily as I could with my hands. We saw a movie in middle school about a woman who had lost her arms and did everything with her feet, including shop at the supermarket, and although the sight of her kicking through the orange bin kind of gave me pause, I felt a kinship with her. Also, it was nice to think that if I ever lost my arms, I'd be still be okay, and maybe even inspirational.

There's also the fact that my feet are exactly like my sister's and my father's, which gave me a sense of belonging when I was growing up, and also enabled us all to gang up on my mother, who was annoyingly perfect in all other ways. The Hubley Feet were something to be proud of. I'm sure people who are born with a tail feel the same way about their deformity.

Anyway, the other day I was over at Cathy and Isaac's, drinking their booze and eating their food as usual. I'd taken off my shoes and socks, because we were relaxing, and because Cathy and Isaac had taken off their shoes and socks, and because you don't have to impress friends once they've taken to feeding you on a regular basis. All of a sudden, Cathy screamed and pointed to my foot.

I have short legs, so my feet weren't on the floor, just kind of kicking in mid-air. At first, I thought she was pointing to something under me, possibly a mouse, so I sort of shrieked and tucked my feet under me, whereupon Cathy stopped screaming, because it was my feet, my actual feet, that had frightened her.

"The toes," she gasped. "They're...they're totally separate from one another."

"Oh, yeah, they are," I said, wiggling them at her. "They move independently. Like a sea anemone."

I held one foot up, and opened and closed it like a fist. "Do you have a nickel? I might still be able to pick it up off the floor."

"Gaaaah!" She screamed.

"I don't know, though. I'm out of practice."

"Get your horrible foot out of my face, you FREAK."

Whereupon, Isaac came back in from the kitchen and demanded to know why his wife was calling a guest a freak. Whereupon-whereupon, I informed him that I had just drank their last beer, and so was far too rude to be considered a guest. I held up my foot at him.

"We are thirsty, Isaac," I said, in what I thought was a good voice for my foot. "Go to Fernandez Spa and get us some more beer."

Friday, June 18, 2004

Maybe I should start a business

I am excellent at getting rid of people. Just excellent. Sometimes I do it when I don't even mean to. Ha ha.

No, but seriously: have an unwanted party guest? Ex-boyfriend driving you crazy? Mom gotcha down? Allow me to recommend my services. I can get rid of the most restraining-order worthy pest in ten minutes flat. (Or your money back. Not that you pay me. You cheap, cheap fucks.)

My career as a professional driver-away of unwanted humans began in college, when I was visiting my best friend Sarah at BU. She and her roommates Liz and Jacob had this one, um, well, "friend" obviously isn't the right word -- classmate? social colleague? -- that they just couldn't stand. This girl's name was Gina or Tina or Teensy or something, and she was a total pain in the ass. She had no personality, but she wouldn't shut up. She also phrased everything in the form of a question, like she was on an eternal game of Jeopardy. After she was done talking, you had no idea what she'd said, but you felt sort of vaguely hopeless and disgusted with everything. Also, she had terrible hair.

Anyway, on this particular evening, Sarah and her roommates and I were hanging around doing what you did in college in the late 90s, namely, play Tetris and do bonghits, when the doorbell rang. Everyone dove to the floor but me, and Sarah's roommate hit the lights.

"Am I missing something?" I asked everyone, blinking into the darkness. "Are we about to be shot? Should I be concerned? Has anyone seen my lighter?"

"Shhh!" Sarah hissed. "It's Teensy. We should have known better than to leave on the lights. She always comes around this time of night."

"Who's Teensy?" I asked. "Is she a Mormon? Why are we hiding from her?"

"She's the most boring fucking person on the face of the planet, that's who she is. Now, get under the sofa before she sees you."

The idea of fighting for space under the sofa with an accumulated semester's worth of corn chips and dust bunnies appealed neither to my dignity nor to my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, so I offered Sarah and her friends a deal: "If you let Teensy in, I will get rid of her in ten minutes. Ten minutes, I swear to God. I further promise that she will stop coming around here every night. This I swear. On my lighter. If you see it anywhere in the gloom."

Curious to see what I might do, or maybe just sick and tired of lurking under their own furnishings, they decided to let me have a go at it.

"Hey, you guys," Teensy said. "I didn't know you were here! The lights were off!"

"Yeah, we were playing with our Lite Brite," Liz muttered. She picked something off her pants. "Corn chip?"

"No thanks. I already ate. Omigod, you guys, you wouldn't believe? What they had? At the dining hall tonight? Totally. AMERICAN CHOP SUEY. SO GOOD. It reminded me of the time that my Mom...hey, what are you doing?"

"Don't mind me," I said, scratching away at my back as I had been since she sat down. "It's just this rash. I'm pretty sure it's not contagious anymore."

"Oh, crap," Liz said. "You have that again?"

"Yeah, fucking thing. The shots totally didn't work, by the way. Just in case, ha ha, you ever find yourself in this position. My doctor gave me some cream, but I seem to have forgotten it."

"Oh, Hubs," Sarah said. "That's awful. You must be so uncomfortable."

"You have, like, a rash?" Teensy said. "Is it, you, how did you get it?"

"Oh, who can say, right? Hey, you know what, you guys? Would you all mind if I took my shirt off?"

Chorus of "no, go ahead" from the Peanut Gallery. Nothing from Teensy, who was looking nervous.

"Thanks," I said, pulling both shirt and bra over my head. "Whew! That's much more comfortable."

"Hey, you're like, really comfortable with yourself, huh?" Teensy said. "That's great. I mean..."

I snapped my fingers. "Oh, hey, you know what? Do you guys have any butter?"

"We totally do!" Sarah said. "Hey, that might be kind of soothing."

I cocked my finger at her. "ABSOLUTELY. That is ABSOLUTELY what I was thinking."

A minute or so later, smearing butter on myself in silence, while Teensy attempts to shut her mouth, which, for once, was not producing any sound, just sort of flapping in the breeze.

"Do you want some?" I asked her, holding out a handful of butter. "I hear it's really good for your HAIR."

"Oh, um, no thanks," she said."Hey, guys? These pants are really uncomfortable..."

Teensy shot out of her chair. "You guys, I totally? Have to go?"

Altogether now: "Oh, no, no, no. Really? Aw. That's too bad."

The door shut with a slam. I looked at my watch, the face of which now bore a buttery thumbprint.

"Eight minutes thirty seven seconds."

"A world record," Jacob said, admiringly.

"Will you please put your shirt on now?" Liz asked.

"That depends," I said. "Have you seen my lighter?"

Monday, June 14, 2004


I don't have television anymore, at least not in the traditionally accepted sense of the word (meaning the alphabet stations, FOX and at least a few cable affiliates), so whenever I go over to my parents' house these days, I stare at their TV like my spaceship just landed and I'm confused by their earth technology. My sister's been visiting this week, so I've been watching a LOT of television. There's actually some good shit on, if you know where to look. My Mom cheats and uses TV Guide. Using her magical powers, she found a show about Jimmy Carter on Channel 2.

I love Jimmy Carter. I have always loved Jimmy Carter. He and Anne Lamott are the only two Born Again Christians who don't scare me. (Don't believe Jimmeh is a Born Again? According to this documentary, ten years before he hit the white house, he was running around the, quote, "slums of Boston", unquote, distributing Bibles and the word of the Lord.) He is also extremely funny-looking, with those big white chiclet teeth that all successful Democratic candidates seem to have, kinda corny, and possessed of that weird Christian self-absorption that has to do with congratulating yourself all the time for being humble. Oh, and he probably also kinda fucked up during the hostage crisis.

Still, my love is true and unshakable. Why? Because I believe in my heart of hearts that Jimmy Carter is good. Jimmy Carter means well. If he made mistakes, he made them for the best possible reasons -- because he wouldn't do something wrong, even if it was politically expedient.

All this aside, I think I just like him. I think it's a reflex. My Mom swears that when I was little, I used to point him out to her in the newspaper and yell, "JIMMEH!", with a triumphant, drooly baby smile on my fat little face, like I'd discovered where she hid the M&Ms or something. Babies, of course, are wonderful judges of character. For instance, they adore me.

In other television news, during my hiatus from the idiot box, they've apparently started a series of commercials about horrible, horrible diseases that can befall you no matter what you do, even if you take excellent care of yourself (which I don't), and lead a calm and serene lifestyle (laugh ruefully with me, won't you?). Today's horrible, horrible commerical was about deep vein thrombosis, which is when a whole buncha cells decide to stick together and form a clot in your leg, which then travels to your heart or your lungs or whatever and just fucking explodes, and boom, there you are, all dead on the floor and shit. Maybe you're twitching just a little. But it's definitely too late.

Apparently, I was making a terrified expression during this commercial, because my father asked me if they're going to have to monitor my television exposure now. The answer, tragically, is yes.

Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Happy birthday to me

Guess what, everyone? Tomorrow's my BIRTHDAY. That's right: my BIRTHDAY. And while it's true that this fact means that I'll be another year older, I refuse to let it get me down. Because I love my birthday more than any other person has ever loved their birthday, ever. I'm convinced.

I have a lot of theories about why this is. One is that I have narcissistic personality disorder, and therefore love anything associated with my pretty pretty self. This theory also explains why I love pictures of me, despite the fact that I'm terribly unphotogenic. ("Oh, God, that's a terrible picture of me. Do you have any more pictures of me? Oh, Jeebus, this one's worse than the last. Let me look at it again.")

Another theory is that I was terribly overindulged on my birthday as a child, and am now perpetuating the pattern as an adult. Hubley children get a birthday week with at least four parties: one for each set of grandparents, one with your folks, and one with the bratty little kids in the neighborhood. By the end of the week, you pretty much need insulin shots to process all the cake. It's more like a birth festival than a birthday.

As an adult, I generally throw a lot of time and effort into planning my birthday parties. Last year, for example, I had a pub crawl in JP, starting at the Behan with a few beers, progressing to Costello's for (I swear this is what the drinks are called) Redheaded Sluts, and winding up at the Jeannie Johnston, where I was so drunk I couldn't drink anymore, but did anyway, and wound up singing "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friends", badly, at karaoke.

This year, my friend Laura is throwing me a party at her place in Southie, and I'm already frightened. She keeps calling me up to ask me things like, "Do you know where I can get some of that indoor-outdoor carpeting that looks like grass?" and "Do you think if I get a keg for the party, and a half-keg for the after-party, plus a redonkulous amount of hard alcohol, that we'll have enough?" If she calls asking where she can rent farm animals or something, you're all going to have to celebrate without me. I may not have many rules, but I've got plenty of guidelines.

Anyway, did you hear? It's my BIRTHDAY.

Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Please to get off of street

I have never claimed to be a good driver. When I'm divvying up driving duties with friends of friends, or coworkers, or other benign near-strangers, I always issue the following caveat: "Okay, sure, I'll drive. But I'm a terrible driver. I mean just rotten. And speaking of rotten, I can't vouch for the state of my car. I think I might've left a sandwich in the trunk like a month ago, but I'm sure as hell not going in after it now."

I may have to sell my car, come to that. It seriously reeks in there. Anyway.

My point is that anyone who gets into my car has been warned. Thoroughly. So I can't be held responsible for my behavior, once they strap themselves into the passenger seat and say their Hail Marys.

How am I a bad driver? Well, I'll tell you. I don't drive particularly fast, but I careen. I have no sense of direction -- none -- and I'm absentminded. It's not at all rare for me to wake up at a traffic light in the wrong part of town and have no idea, at first, how I got there. Then I'll realize: I meant to drive to Isaac and Cathy's, but I set out for Meredith's. Or: I meant to go to work, but I drove to the gym. It's a nightmare.

I also curse, but not like other people do. My sister loves this about me, which is only one of many reasons why I love her. She likes to tell people the story of how I once invited a fellow motorist, in the most conversational of tones, to go right on home and fuck his mother some more. It was the "some more" that got her, I think.

So anyway. I'll drive. But you've been warned.

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

All out of bubblegum

Everytime I go over to my family's house these days, my father has a new anti-mugging device for me.

It started innocently enough a few years back, with a rape whistle. The whistle was only about an inch long and silver and he made me a little leather holder for it. I never had to use it, I'm glad to report, but it made a handsome keychain.

Sometime in the past couple weeks, though, my Dad finally shot his bolt and now whenever I go over to the Hubleys, I try to predict what will be waiting for me on the dining room table. If I don't look myself, he reminds me.

"Go and see what's on the dining room table. My leather crafter's guild was giving away free canisters of sarin gas with every roll of medium brown cow hide."

Because, you see, he always has a story. It's never, "I freaked out and special-ordered you this Mace." It's always, "Look what arrived in the mail! A spring-loaded pig-sticker, encased in a lipstick tube! Excellent for poking out eyes! You can put it in your makeup bag."

So far he has given me, in addition to the now innocent-seeming rape whistle, a can of pepper spray, two "screamers" that raise an alarm when you pull on a cord, a sap, and a pocket knife. If he can figure out a way to get me a license to carry, I'm sure I'll receive a small ladylike derringer to tuck into my garter. I'm kind of looking forward to that, actually. It's the last thing standing between me and official dame status.