Saturday, April 30, 2005
How vain am I? I'm so glad you asked. You know how everyone and their Aunt Louise has a digital camera now? (Except me, because I'm a lame-o and like to spend my money on travel and beer. Which is why I miss the Acela so much: It featured travel and beer. Anyway.) Everyone has one, and they snap pictures all the time. Anytime you go out, someone has a camera and they snap dozens and dozens of pictures. It's like boozing with parents of a newborn: "And there she is holding a glass. There she is dropping the glass. There she is, flirting with the man who has come to sweep away the shattered remnants of her drink. There she is, looking confused that it's not on." Etc.
Well, here's how vain I am: after each and every picture snapped, I'm that jackass that says, "Was that of me? Can I see?"
I didn't even realize that I did this, until one day my friend Cathy pointed it out to me. As in, "No, you cannot see it, and stop asking. It's only 9:00. We have three more hours at least of this, and I don't feel like showing you every ... single ... picture."
The best part is that I'm not even particularly photogenic.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
See what I'm saying? Clearly, our critical skills are not the best thing about us. The best thing about us is that we are more than usually attractive, and also fun at parties. Although, to be fair, Rolfe beats me in both categories.
Anyway, The Interpreter. Can I ask you this? Does anyone in the world really think that Sean Penn is hot? Because if so, please explain. He is a wee little man with the weirdest hair I've ever seen, and his face looks like it was assembled with Mr. Potato Head parts. I'm sorry to be cruel, but I just don't understand why anyone would want to have sex with Spicoli. Especially since we now know that he has no sense of humour at all.
The other half of the chemistry problem is Nicole Kidman, who is very pretty, but who cares? She never seems real to me. Although, I'm pleased to announce that it seems that's she's lightened up on the Botox. But now her lips look weird. I mentioned this to Rolfe at the very start of the movie.
"What's wrong with her lips? It's like there's a little fold in the bottom one. See that? That wasn't there before. What has she done?"
"It's a lip implant, making a break for it."
No wonder no one wants to sit near us in the theatre.
But leads aside, the major problem I had with the movie was that the music drove me nuts. Like, weird African flute music for no apparent reason, and then Paul Simon "Now we are in AF-RI-CA" yodeling and yelping at others. Meanwhile, for most of the movie, we're in New York. So what's up with the fluting and the yallering? Makes no sense to me.
Rolfe, who is much less shallow than I am, also pointed out that the parts that took place in Africa seemed offputting somehow -- like a white person's idea of Africa, rather than the place itself. "Here is a dusty road, with children on it. And they have guns! Also, there are bugs, because this is AF-RI-CA and they are poor here. Aren't you lucky you live in America?"
There are many variations on this question, but it amounts to same thing. People want to know if I'm running away because of some boy. This is all the more interesting because I was actually dating a boy in New York late last year, shortly after (after, please note I said "after") I started thinking about moving. It had nothing to do with him, but all the same, the few people I talked to about my plan didn't believe me. In fact, he didn't believe me, and he was less than pleased when I pointed out to him that my plan predated our relationship.
Which I thought was kinda odd, cuz who needs that kind of pressure, right? I mean, if a boy told me that he was moving to a city to be near me, I think I'd be freaked out. I'd be all like, okey-dokey, then. I'll just be moving, myself. And not leaving a forwarding address. Can you just step out to the market, and pick up these things? No, no. I'll totally be here when you get back, no worries.
Now that I think about it, maybe I'm the one who has issues. But if should come as no surprise to you all then that there's no boy in New York.
Monday, April 25, 2005
Let us think of kittens and beer and giant balls of string and roadtrips and new car smell and cotton candy and pony rides (except that ponies make us sneeze, and by "us," I mean "me," as I'm sure you're just fine with ponies, just fine, I mean, you'd have to be some kind of a nerd to be allergic to ponies) and large white clouds in large blue skies and well-worn jeans and clean smells and new places. Let us think of summer.
The winter is over. It's time for travels. If I can ever, ever sleep again, I will take a nap in a puddle of sunshine. It's time to make big changes and not look back. (Or, if you're a pony-allergic, fretful, anxiety-driven insomniac, to make big changes and look back constantly, insistently, as if to say, "Well! Look at that! You're still back there, other choice I could have made!" But let us look away from that. No pillars of salt here, please.)
Spring is here. Let's change everything. I'll race you!
OK, that's not entirely accurate: I rented a storage space from the associate of a man named Jimmy Knuckles, but I saw Mr. Knuckles' card on the desk while I was filling out my paper work.
"Your colleague has an AWESOME name," I told friend of Knuckles.
He laughed and rolled his eyes. "Yeah. He's not, like, in the mob or anything, either. He's from Florida. Has a southern accent and everything."
And then? Mr. Knuckles' business associate pushed a little hockey-puck shaped thing across the table to me, and flipped it open to reveal a fingerprint pad.
"We need your left index finger, your right index finger, and your right thumb." He said, as though asking for the actual digits themselves, not the prints.
"Wow," I said, weakly. "You don't mess around."
And then, all of a sudden, I felt super sketchy. This happens to me a lot, and it's a primary reason why I'm generally not up to anything. I know I'd never get away with it. But the dude asked me for my fingerprints, as if I were a criminal, and then, all of a sudden, I started to feel like a criminal. I felt my eyes shift from side to side, as though searching for an excuse not to give him my criminal, shifty, outlaw fingerprints.
"This'll be fun to explain back at work!" I said brightly.
"It washes off." He said, staring at me as he pushed a box of tissues across the table. And no doubt feeling around on the floor for the silent alarm.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
It's my own fault. I took a nap today. And I went to the gym. Going to the gym is good for you, eventually, because it works off anxiety, but when you start going again after a long absence, well, it just winds you up more.
It's Sunday night. Sunday night is the worst. I lie in my bed, covers sandy and bunched around my legs, thinking of the 9,000 things I have to do the next day. Also about major life plans. Also about every stupid thing I've ever said to anyone, ever. By the time I'm done, I've pretty much convinced myself that it's a miracle that I've managed to maintain any job or friendship for more than a month or so, ever.
This is lots of fun. I'm thinking of making it into a boardgame. I will call it, "You Lose!" It will be like "Sorry!", only about anxiety. Some of the square will read, "Did you really do the best job you could on that project last week?" and "You really shoulda called that guy before you left the office on Friday." Others will read, "Remember that one guy you broke up with over e-mail? It was seven years ago, but you're still an asshole." Or "Really worthwhile people would rather read about matters of political importance, instead of spending all day reading blogs and celebrity gossip."
I think that this game will be huge, at least among my friends.
Friday, April 22, 2005
jenniesmash: No, not a single penis picture in ages.
jenniesmash: I must be getting fat.
stevo: Or your male reader base is turned off by your references to those things that girls do bad things with.
jenniesmash: You mean, TAMPONS?
jenniesmash: For our COOCHIES?
stevo is offline. (4/22/2005 4:30 PM)
jenniesmash: Ha ha ha!
jenniesmash: I made you go away.
stevo has signed back in. (4/22/2005 4:31 PM)
stevo: : STOPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!
jenniesmash: Ha ha ha! TAMPON.
stevo: : YOU'RE DRIVING ME INSANE!
Thursday, April 21, 2005
My favorite thing about Emergen-C is that it's been around for awhile, and you can tell, because the packets are more '80s shazaam than they are '00s hipster (or organic, which is the other way they could go, I guess). The box has the Emergen-C logo encased in a little sunburst thing, just like we learned in basic graphic design in high school, just like around the "pow!" in comic books when the good guy punches out the bad guy. "Our product will punch out your sleepiness, Jen Hubley!" the box says, and I believe it, because I? Am a good consumer. I now drink two or more packets of this crap a day, just like the box says I should do. And it occurs to me that if you'd like to recruit me for your evil cause, you need only print your suggestion on a box of something easily consumable.
A couple beats ago, I wrote about customer relationship management software. This is the stuff that helps telemarketers take down your information, hotel companies track your preferences, the Body Shop figure out what to send you on your birthday to keep you coming back for more lip gloss and loofah. At one point, I was at a trade show, talking to some dude who worked for some company and we were talking about upselling, and how good his company was at upselling. And I said, "Well, that's great. But I guess you just want the right types of customers really. I mean, me? I always want fries with that. Supersize me! And I'll definitely two for the price of one, or a second thing, for half off with my original purchase. So what you want, basically, are many, many customers just like me."
The gleam in his eye made me push my chair back a bit from the table.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
I said immediately, "Fenway."
So I spent last night in my happy place, clutching a beer like a liferaft and yelling "TRAAAAW-DAHHH!" Which, if you're not from Boston, is how Trot Nixon's name is actually pronounced.
My all time favorite incident of the evening though happened when my pal Kara and I went out for a smoke. They make you run around the whole dang building now to do this. Soon you'll have to sit in the dumpster. But anyway. We found the smoker's pen and stood hunched with the other rejects. Everyone was quite friendly, as usual. Except for one guy, who kept looking nervously from side to side, as though waiting for ambush.
"Hey, pal," I said. "Is everything OK?"
"Oh, yeah. Yeah, fine."
"You having a good time?"
"Oh yeah. Yeah." Shift, shift. "Um, I'm a Yankees fan."
I have to admit, when I heard this, I feared the worst. Had someone pantsed him at his seat? Poured beer on his head? Lit his SUV on fire? We don't need any more bad press around here. Please, lord, I prayed. Let the Massholes stay in check.
But no need to worry. Everyone had been nice to him. And he was all excited, because it was his first time at Fenway. And everyone loves Fenway. Fenway is the friend of a friend that everyone gets along with.
"Well, I'm glad people have been OK," I told him. "And hey, there's a possibility that I might be moving to your city sometime soon. So I'll make you a deal: I'll make the citizenry of Boston treat you well, if you'll tell your pals in New York not to kill me."
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
I'd like to think that this means that I have a positive personality and can find joy in all things, but I'm afraid it really means that I'm a huge sucker.
Monday, April 18, 2005
My point is this: I have completely figured out why my otherwise wonderful friends occasionally date assholes who turn out to be crazy. (I'm including myself in this. Boy oh boy, am I ever.) Here's why: Because the average boy is so mellow when it comes to communicating with the object of his lust and/or affection, that it can drive even the most well-sorted out woman crazy.
This calls to mind a comedian I saw on TV not so long ago, a very 1980s style, "aren't periods a pain and aren't men irritating" type of female comedian. She had this whole routine about having dated a guy who didn't call her for two weeks. She pined and moped and whined to her friends. And then she moved on. Starting dating someone else. And a month later, he called, wanting to go out on Friday night. He was shocked to discover that she thought they'd broken up.
In my own life, I've dated so many boys who've just sort of gone poof!, that it's made me inclined to overlook obvious signs of craziness in other boys, who were more willing to call me their girlfriend and make time for me. "You actually want to, like, go out? NO SHIT. Man, I didn't think they made your kind anymore." All the while gazing at this obvious serial killer as if he were a unicorn or other mythical creature.
Then, a few weeks later, Prince Crazypants is all, "WHERE WERE YOU AND WHO WAS THAT GUY?" when you were either asleep or hanging out with your gay cousin, and you realize, oh. You're not a mythical creature. I have seen your kind before, and heard of you in stories, as well as enjoying popular representations of your nuttiness on programs such as "Law & Order."
So I guess what I'm saying is, it's easy to meet fraidy-cat boys, and psycho boys, but not so easy to meet someone in between. Which should come a no surprise to anyone who is dating anyone of either gender, actually. So never mind what I said. I've figured nothing out. Nothing to see here. Move along.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
I don't know what you've heard, but I did not just walk here barefoot from Appalachia. I am not carrying a banjo. In no way am I developmentally disabled. I am from Boston. BOSTON. Which is a major city, jackass. Where you have to pay first, last, security and a fee in order to get a place to live. Where the streets are also dirty, and the people are also sometimes abrupt, just like where you live. I am not a rube.
The fact that I did not call you up and start screaming obscenities before even saying hello should not, in any way, cause you to think that I am a pushover. I am nice, you see. Until you fucking push me, in which case, you will all wish you were born oysters in Japan. Believe that shit.
If you will agree to stop showing me pictures of apartments that:
a) Do not exist.
b) Have been heavily photoshopped.
c) Are stills from a movie set.
Then I believe that we will get along great. However, if you do not behave yourselves, I will call:
a) Some sort of terribly official business office.
b) A politician of some kind.
c) Your mother.
Thank you, and best regards,
Jen Hubley, soon-to-be New Yorker
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Anyway, I've been thinking a lot about the "my city is better than your city" phenomenon lately, because everyone in Boston is alarmed that I'm even thinking of leaving. "New York! How could you?" Well, listen: I love me some Boston. But I'm just not ready to settle down, baby. It's not you; it's me.
Every time this comes up, I think about a conversation I had with a friend of mine. This was at a party some years back. He was tricked out in his best hipster ensemble: spiky hair (this was years ago, remember: no Beatles dos then), jeans, white belt, etc. His requisite ironic t-shirt said, "Fuck New York."
"Hey, there," I said. "Interesting t-shirt."
"Yeah, fuck New York, man!"
"Yeah. It's its own thing, that's for sure."
"Say, though. Have you ever been to New York?"
"Nah, man. But I hate it anyway, you know?"
"But, OK. Wait. How do you know you hate it?"
"I just hate it! You don't have to go to a place to know you don't like it."
"Ah, but see, my friend. I would argue that you do."
To be totally fair, I've talked to this dude since, and he's revised his opinion somewhat. But I did think it was an interesting example of how chauvinistic we can be.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
In this dream, I had a baby. Like, all of a sudden. I wasn't pregnant or anything, I was just my normal self. And then, poof! Baby.
I wasn't thrilled about this. The baby was cute and all, but I was kinda pissy that I wouldn't be able to go out anymore. But it grew on me as babies do. They're supposed to, which is why God made them little and cute and sweet-smelling, in addition to loud and irritable and shit-spewing. All things in life are a tradeoff.
Then, all of a sudden (again), I looked up and the baby was gone. Poof! No more baby. And I was all sad. But more than that, I was really concerned that I turned out to be the sort of person who could actually misplace a baby -- which is what I've always told anyone who asked why I don't have one.
Monday, April 11, 2005
I didn't quit because I have another job, or because I didn't like it there, or because I came into a small fortune, or joined a religious group that forbids working, or anything of that nature. No, I quit my job because I've been there for five years and all of a sudden it occurred to me that if I didn't leave soon, I would grow old there. I have had a horror of being a lifer since my days as a waitress, when the old timers would laugh at us as we pretended to know how to smoke cigarettes on our break, and say, in their gravelly voices, "I remember when I was starting out. Long time ago now." (Wistful gleam in their eyes.) "But those days are gone. Gone..." And then we'd all want to kill ourselves.
Anyway, the other reason that I quit my job is that I'm moving to New York. Yes, I have totally lost my mind. But don't worry about it. It will either work out, or it won't, but either way, this blog will be a lot more interesting for my readers.
Thursday, April 7, 2005
"Do your filthy old man voice for Isaac and Cathy," I'll urge her.
And she'll smile and say, "I do this voice sometimes." So that they'll know I'm not crazy, right? But she won't actually do it. So frustrating.
Part of this is because Mrs. P has the ability to keep things to herself. I do not understand this. My every thought might as well be printed on my t-shirt. And, as readers of this blog know well enough, I don't have the greatest sense of privacy.
Here's a good example of this. A little while ago, I did a reading with a bunch of other people at a gallery in Cambridge. My friend Rod, who had organized the reading, has this one friend who happens to be a four-foot tall African-American midget wrestler. This individual is named Tiny the Terrible, and he typically wears a red suit, red cowboy boots, a big ol' cowboy hat and a medallion the size of a dinner plate with Caeser's head on it. He also likes to yell things in public, such as entreaties to vote for Bush, etc. (BTW, I tried to convince him to campaign for Bush, but it didn't work.)
Anyway, Tiny came to the reading, and was actual rather well-behaved during my section, in which I read a funny little story about my grandfather's funeral. I've written about that before here, but it's basically about how my cousin convinced me to kiss my grandfather's corpse, by threatening to scream if I didn't.
After the reading, Tiny swaggered up to me and said, "Are you the girl who read the story about the funeral?"
I said I was.
He looked at me with real concern. "What would ever make a person tell a story like that? About their own family?"
Such a good question, my little pal.
Monday, April 4, 2005
Sunday, April 3, 2005
It all started innocently enough. My pals Isaac and Cathy decided to go away for the weekend, and generously offered to let me housesit their fabulous apartment. This accomplished two things: it gave me space to write a piece that I was working on for the Black Table, annd it got me ever so much closer to public transportation, allowing me to participate in an old-fashioned impromptu pub-crawl with one of my all-time favorite partners in crime, Meredith.
We were originally going to meet for coffee. Coffee turned into shopping, and then shopping into drinking, and then drinking into carousing. Things got ... a little crazy. After we left downtown Boston, we went to Cambridge and prowled Mass Ave. At one point in the evening, I actually said, loud enough for people to hear: "Christ, who do you have to blow around here to get some bourbon?" The answer? No one at Middlesex, I don't think. The bartenders there were very attractive and smelled delicious, but I'm pretty sure they weren't interested in me.
We ended up at the People's Republik, where we ran into our old pal Bob from high school. A perfect evening, really. I even got to flirt with inappropriately young Harvard students, which is always a good time. You never know what you'll get at the People's. I know lots of people who've met lovely people there, for a variety of purposes, ha ha, but I generally seem to attract homeless men.
"That's nothing," Meredith said, when I told her that. "When I was there last week, Julie got macked on by an actual pinhead. He was all like, muh muh muh muh ... scho, can I haaave yer sscchnumber?"
No pinheads this time. Still, it was fun. And afterward, we went out for pancakes, which is always great.
The only downside happened after Meredith's friend dropped me off at Isaac and Cathy's. I lurched up the steps, dug out my keys, and tried to stick them in the door. I tried both keys, the inside and the outside key, several times. Unbelievable! They didn't even fit in the lock.
Meredith got out of the car and marched up the steps, shouting, "Hey, Drunky, are you having a problem?"
"I schnick the problem isch that I have two keys." I held them up.
Meredith looked at them. "Well, did you try them both?"
"Yesch. But you schee, the problem is, I have TWO keys." I rattled them helpfully.
"Give me those." She took the keys and tried them in the lock. No dice. Then she looked up at the building. "Hubley. This is the wrong fucking house."
She pointed down the block. "Isaac and Cathy's house is two houses down. Jesus, kid. Are you going to be OK?"
"Of coursch I am." I swiped the keys from her and put on an air of affronted dignity. "It's just that all these housches looksch alike."
It occurs to me that I might not have any right to make fun of pinheads, come to think of it.
Friday, April 1, 2005
A few years ago, a friend of mine asked me to go to a Secret Santa party. Now, I will be completely honest here: At the time, I had a big ol' crush on this friend, and probably would have gone on a dump run with him, if he'd asked, or else gotten a root canal in his stead. So I was perfectly willing to subject myself to the pre-Christmas hoards in order to have an excuse to hang out with him.
I even found what I thought was the perfect gift, given the monetary limit and the fact that I had two days to shop: A little metal music box thing that played "Let it be." (Here is the problem with shopping: When you buy Secret Santa gifts, you either tend to buy silly stuff that people will throw away once they get home, or you tend to buy stuff that you'd like to get yourself.)
Through perfect chance, this guy and I wound up getting each other's gift. His gift to me? A set of monkey coasters and some Mad Libs. The PERFECT Secret Santa gifts. Hip, lighthearted. I could tell they were from him. I certainly wouldn't want to throw them out. (Although, given the emotional trauma they evoked afterward, I did eventually chuck them unused.) My heart immediately sunk, knowing that he'd open my present and say...
"What is this crap?" He held the music box up, and turned the little crank with his big guy's hands. It looked like a flimsy, ridiculous thing. "This is the WORST present I've ever SEEN."
"IT'S A MUSIC BOX," I blurted, forgetting that the whole thing was supposed to be anonymous. Everyone stared at me. My crush? Slowly turned the crank.
Plink, plink, plink. Let it be, kids. And don't do Secret Santa.