I try not to think about how old I am. The thought of aging just pisses me off. But sometimes, it's thrown in my face like a shaving cream pie of reality.
I made a plane reservation the other day. I don't remember where I was going. I just remember putting in my birthday: month, day, no prob. Then…year. I was right-hooked upside the melon as only a drop-down menu of dates can deliver. I paged down and down and down some more as my sinking heart begged for mercy. Jesus Christ on a cracker. Really? Who thought of this soul-crushing process disguised as convenience? Why not just give me the fucking blank space so I can type in my four benign little numbers that remind me of nothing? Would that be so hard? Instead, I have to see the seemingly endless parade of decades that have passed before. To you geniuses, I say this...
Dear Soul-Crushing ,Tech-Nerds,
Take a clue from the kind folks who eradicated the term "bifocals" with a vaccine called "progressives". There is no Age Related Stigma attached to glasses called progressives. See the marketing genius there? I want to kiss those guys. I want to have their babies if only I still had a uterus. But you? You're cruel and insensitive. One day, you, too, will be making a plane reservation on-line. And it will hit you as it hit me. And you will regret the folly of your youth. The callous disregard for the self-esteem of others. Your day will come, tech-nerds Oh, yes. Your day will come.
Not to be confused with "Twitter me, stupid!"
I don't know if you can Twitter somebody but if you can, it sounds like something I might like. Maybe I'll invent my very own form of sexual pleasure called twittering and tweet it (?) like this: #ThingsAnaisNinWouldProbablyLoveToKnowIfSheWereStillAlive
(For some reason…I felt compelled to put a .com at the end of that hash-tagged-whatever, the same way I want to say Amen at the end of The Pledge of Allegiance.)
I don't know where all those pound sign creations end up but it must be in some kind of Bermuda Triangle For Hashtags. Someday they'll all be found alongside an aircraft carrier and their bewildered, ageless crew asking "What the Sam Hill are all these pound signs doing hanging off the sides of our beloved USS Cyclops and what the hell do you mean Woodrow Wilson ain't president no more?"
But what I really want to know is this: will that hashtag I just created automatically go to The Hashtag Triangle just because I typed it and posted this blog? Or do I have to pass GO on my Twitter account that I don't know how to sign into and collect $200, first?
If you know, please send me a "@" with a "#" followed by a smoke signal, a few Morse code clicks and maybe a voice message on that tin can and string device you probably have in your box of childhood memories.
But only if you're staring down the business end of the mid-life shotgun.
A woman's self-esteem, as it relates to her hair, cannot be understated. And when things go wrong, it's akin to being stripped naked and paraded through a shopping mall on the eve of an unfortunately overdue Brazilian. (Thanks, Sandman, for bringing me that horrifying dream, you sick fuck!)
A hair disaster can bring on nothing short of social paranoia. The Aggrieved Unfortunate is convinced everyone is staring at her. (Writer speaking in the third person to protect her nearly pulverized psyche) Even if they don't know her and therefore couldn't possibly know what her hair looked like pre Hair Apocalypse, she thinks they're staring.
She feels it.
She cinches her hoodie tight around her fried noggin, her posture reduced to the slump of the publicly humiliated.
Not even her friends recognize her as she reveals the source of her shame. Their greetings, once warm and comforting, have been replaced with dismayed half-smiles of "Holy mother of God, what has she done?" and ever so slight recoils of disgust... as if getting too close might infect them with her hair-brained disease. She gives them a cryptic warning. "Don't bother with the hand sanitizer. It's airborne. I caught if from breathing in some cockamamie idea I got from a hairstyle magazine that made me believe I wanted to look like Miley Cyrus."
They stare a little harder.
"Yeah. Yeah. I know. If Andy Warhol and Tilda Swinton had a love child, it would have this hair color. I'm going to get it fixed on Saturday."
And Saturday comes….
Alas, the fixing has failed.
And it's worse than she could have imagined. Any trace of what remained of her erased…washed away in a diabolical brew of chemical color not found in nature or otherwise.
"Now you look Irish," one helpful friend blurts out.
"It's just not you," another offers, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. (from a safe distance, of course)
"Then who the hell am I," Andy-Tilda The Irishwoman cries. "Who? Who? Who??!!"
And thus begins the slow, agonizing process of rebuilding the woman she once recognized in the mirror as Herself. She's come to terms with it now. Every day a little better. Every therapy session one step closer to regaining the self-esteem she so cavalierly tossed away that fateful day.
Oh, what a price we pay for our mistakes, my sisters. Oh, what a price.
Maybe it's genetic. I have no idea. Should I be more self aware of this? Probably. Fact is, Google has officially called me out on it. It's slightly creepy when a non-human entity points out a human characteristic. Okay, so it's not a human characteristic that's considered attractive but still, it's unsettling. I laughed out loud but it was one of those laughs that was part ha-ha, part I-don't-know-what-else-to-do-because-I'm-uncomfortable kind of laughs.
Here's Google's response to one of my blog post titles:
Warning: Title display in Google is limited to a fixed width, yours is too long.
I'm giving the shitty sentence structure a pass. Namely, because I'm completely fascinated by how this non-human "voice" manages to sound so beautifully, snarkily human.
I'm wondering which Google team member insisted on taking off "dumb shit" at the end of that warning?
Just to be clear, I know "snarkily" is not a word. I'm sure Google will somehow find a way to point that out.
P.S Rudimentary, art-house doodle is a self-portrait. And yeah, that's sorta the color of my hair right now.
Just when I thought I had it all figured out, I run into this… [insert emoji of exasperated smiley face here]
Searching for a sign that tells me which way to go. Yet to find one. At this point, I'd settle for a fortune cookie with a perky, inspirational prediction about attaining worldwide success or how I'm loved by people who don't even know me based on the sterling personality that precedes me.
What next? A sign that says Skip the Dresses. You're a Boy??
Damn you, auto correct!
I'm starting to keep a running record of all the crazy shit that's written on my behalf by that absurd algorithm, or whatever the hell you call it. For the love of Pete, I don't even know what an algorithm is! But it sounded like a word that fit. So there.
Algorithm. Yep. It fits.
I scurried off to dictionary.com so I could look up the definition, lest I sound like a complete idiot. There were numerous descriptions. Here's the one that fit the best:
A finite set of unambiguous instructions performed in a prescribed sequence to achieve a goal, especially a mathematical rule or procedure used to compute a desired result. Algorithms are the basis for most computer programming.
Hmmm… "used to compute a desired result."
Frog ether was not the desired result of my text. Which leads me to this…..
How can there can be an auto correct of specific words, but not an auto correct that auto corrects all the shit sentences auto correct creates from correctly spelled words that should never be put next to each other? Yeah, I know. That's a ridiculously long sentence, but I'm totally serious about this auto-sentence-correcting thing-y. Does it exist?
It should. Because I'd love it if that frog text got corrected to what I was really trying to say.
"Wire friending broth erthy"
Sheesh! What does a girl have to do to get a little clarity around here?
I'm a fledgling technology consumer.
According to Merriam-Webster, fledgling can either mean a young bird who has just fledged (what?) or a person or organization that is immature, inexperienced, or underdeveloped.
I'm neither immature nor an organization but I am definitely inexperienced and underdeveloped when it comes to things referred to as devices and all the shit you have to learn to operate them.
Don't get me wrong. I loves me my devices, y'all. I just don't know how to make them work at their full potential and beating them on rocks to bring about aforementioned potential just doesn't work. Trust me on this.
Despite the fact that my self-esteem has been put through a virtual wood-chipper for being completely un-trainable, I put on a happy face and just keep on truckin'. What's my choice?
So imagine my sheer bliss when I discovered - on my own, mind you - how to convert a pdf script back into Final Draft format. This was after fretting for days and days that I'd have to type an accidentally-deleted-because-I'm-an-idiot version of a script word for word from a pdf file.
I had put out one last call for help. One puny, fading sonar beep of a plea.
"Help me Google-wan-Kenobi! You're my only hope!"
And Google brought forth a screenwriter angel. And he was called John August.
And he carried with him a mighty tool. And that tool bore the name….Highland
And Highland was my redeemer. It restoreth my soul and my tattered self-esteem.
Highland! Highland! I shall trumpet your wonders throughout the kingdoms of cyber-space, bear witness through the power of my own voice and …...
Okay, okay! I'll cut the biblical melodrama but I'm here to tell you, this Highland App is fucking MA-JIK. Convert your pdfs back into Final Draft files in two shakes of a lamb's tail. You don't even need opposable thumbs to do it! Just a coupla pointer fingers and you're good to go. It's that simple.
One last little discovery I just have to share! I ran across the most fascinating circular contraption. It's sometimes made of rubber, sometimes metal and it facilitates movement. It's called the wheel.
Some of my most interesting experiences happen when I'm walking my dog. I meet a lot of fellow dog-walkers who are generally nice humans. Except that stern, rod-straight man and his neurotic, uber-focused Border Collie that I've seen every day for the last I-don't-know-how-many years on their way to the beach. Neither of them look happy, if you ask me. The man never smiles, rarely speaks and looks exactly the same every single day. This is not an exaggeration. I could spot that guy anywhere in the world in a throng of identically looking men at any given time. Same khaki pants, same backpack, same hat, same red jacket, same green Chuckit toy. I kick ass at Where's Waldo because of this guy.
I give the man props for taking his furry companion to the beach every day but for the love of Dog give the poor thing some Prozac before he starts licking the walls from too much training!
But this post isn't about dogs or grouchy neighbors. It's about twins.
Twins fascinate me. They always have. It wouldn't be a stretch to admit that I secretly wanted to have one. But that would have been a cruel twist of fate for my parents especially if the cosmos has cursed them with an identical set of me. I'll leave the reasons up to the reader's imagination. To be clear, it's fraternal twins that I'm fascinated by. Specifically, the differences between them. I mean, if would be silly to "compare identical twins", right? Wouldn't that be oxymoronic? (or is it just me?)
It was my recent good fortune to cross paths with a gorgeous set of twin girls. They looked to be about 6 and were drawn to my dog who is a very handsome dude, if I must say so myself. I overheard them ask their father if they could pet him and he replied they had to ask me nicely first. This made me like the dad immediately. I said yes before they even asked. These two cherubs had eyes the color of the ocean behind them and the blonde braids that I longed for in my teen years and still covet as an adult. They were very similar in appearance but their differences were abundantly clear. Cherub #1 was gregarious and talkative and enveloped my dog with brave hugs and nose kisses despite the fact that he was eye-level. Her hands were dirty with whatever it was she had explored on the beach and her braid was coming apart at the seams. Cherub #2 stepped in once she saw her sister getting major face licks. She was clearly more cautious and definitely cleaner like maybe she used a sand shovel to dig for that buried treasure rather than her bare hands. She wore a frilly hair trinket that kept her braids from abandoning ship.
Cherub #1 sported a tattered denim skirt, a stained cotton tee-shirt and fleece camouflage boots. Cherub #2, a feminine tutu and an equally girly-girl top. Her fleece boots were brilliant pink and adorned with a million sequins.
When I commented on their boots, Cherub #1 volunteered they got them for Christmas. When I asked them if they were twins, it opened up a floodgate of information delivered in a spray of machine-gun-fire consciousness devoid of pauses: we're twins and we're going to be six and we were born on the same day but we're not identical and our birthday is August 21st and we're going to have a big party when we get home and we love dogs and we're on vacation and live in Idaho and this is my dad his name is Jeff but my mom could come because she had to work and do you want to know what we want for our birthday?
My head was still reeling from all that information and I was searching for bullet holes in my chest but hell yes, I was dying to know.
"I want a bow and arrow," she said.
When I asked Cherub #2 what she wanted, she replied with a clear and confident voice.
"I...want a wedding dress."
Dad laughed out loud, not the least but surprised by any of this.
"As you can see…they only look alike," he said.
I could tell by the way he looked down at them he was head over heels in love with his angel twins and their myriad differences. He was proud of them and it showed. It made me like him even more.
All I can say is those little nuggets made my day. And even though the encounter was fleeting and random, I'll never look at a bow and arrow or a wedding dress as long as I live without thinking of them.
I told you twins were fascinating.
Or maybe it's just me.
As I was getting undressed on my way to the security line at LAX the other day, I took notice of something. Maybe my magpie-ness was taking a down-for-maintenance hiatus like the ObamaCare Web-site. Or it could have been the sound of a woman colliding with a Sees Candy kiosk while sending a text. It was amazing how many people thought nuts and chews were fair game just because they landed on an airport terminal floor. Jesus, people! Get your priorities straight! Didn't you notice the cans of Toffe-ette rolling toward the escalator?
But I digress as magpies often do. What I noticed wasn't the sugar-junkies scrambling for the candy but rather the ones who were filming it. I had no inclination to film the carnage namely due to the fact that I don't know how to do it on my "device" formerly known as a cell phone. I could probably figure it out if I took a few minutes to learn but I have no desire to learn new things. Besides, I had taken my undressing a little too far and had to put my shirt back on before the device-o-philes got bored with the candy looters and turned their attention my way.
What I'm taking too long to say is this: We have all become magpies. Some, like me, are what I'll call low-tech magpies. Those limited to the shiny objects that pop up on their HuffPost News feeds...like that picture of Kim Kardashian's post-baby ass tweet. And then there are those who transcend even the obvious moniker of hi-tech magpie. It goes beyond that. They're the ones who actually provide the content that filters down to the low-rung magpies like me.
I'm undecided if I envy them or fear them.
I suppose that depends on whether my airport strip-tease ended up on YouTube or not.
This is the first in an endless series...
...unless I suddenly throw all my electronic devices into the sea which isn't going to happen because I get all my news on-line. I'm pretty basic about it: the New York Times Headlines, HuffPost, CNN, Women in Hollywood and my lame, confusing horoscope that tells me things like: "your emotions sink into the deep waters of your subconscious, making the next few days a bit uncomfortable".
So I've got that goin' for me.
But never mind my subconscious. I'm more worried about the crazy shit mucking up my focal awareness and causing me deep and profound personal distress.
How is it that I can be reading a completely serious news article on-line about, say, a devastating tornado...or a crazy suicide bomber and WHAM-O, my beady, black eyes drift to a shiny, sparkly headline like this: Lindsay Lohan Wears Some Seriously Short Shorts.
And I'm ashamed.
I feel like a magpie reading porn in church.