Gotta love these guyyyyys.
“Sunny Afternoon” / The Kinks (1966)
My Brother’s Girlfriend is coming in town to visit in a few weeks.
“Cool,” I said, even though I was absolutely amazed that he raised the subject of her visit without any prompting from me. He likes to play it cool, this brother of mine, even though I’m about 99% sure he’s pretty head-over-heels for this chick. We’re a lot alike that way: we’d hate to jinx something before we know it’s real. Even though he and she have been together for a year, I think.
I also asked him what sorts of things she’d like to do in town, having not visited our fair city before. At this, Brother drew a blank. “I don’t know, what sorts of things should I show her?” he asked.
No less than one-half-hour later, I finished my list. As he typed the last entry into his phone, he turned to me:
“Wow, I would have never thought of any of that. Jesus, you should just date her,” he said.
Today, he relayed the story to her, to which she replied: “I should just hang out with her while I’m there.”
Having never met this girl, I sure hope this bodes well. I’d hate to have a total hoser for a potential sister-in-law.
Wow, Pittsburgh, you are 18.5 games out of first right now? Bummer.
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I love going to see movies by myself. I mean, I love going with friends, but I like to get all engrossed in what I’m watching and if someone is with me I sometimes feel that I’m neglecting them. So when I’m with friends, every so often I turn to the person next to me in order to gauge their reaction to what we’re seeing: does she think it’s as funny / sad / dumb as I think it is? But sometimes the reactions aren’t as clear, so I have to concentrate, and the original glance becomes prolonged and when she finally turns to look at me, I’ve been literally staring at her, quite possibly for several minutes.
So yeah, I love going to movies by myself.
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I had a tattoo design all planned out. It was going to go across the width of my wrist. Except I have disturbingly spindly, bony-old-woman wrists. A tat there would a) need to be very small and b) look stupid. Ah, if only there were implants for these sorts of things. Wrist-expanders. Well, I guess there are. They’re called chocolate chip pancakes.
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When I’m thirsty and under-hydrated, I want fruit.
More specifically, I crave berry-flavored hydration. I imagine it’s the sugars or something that my body says it needs, but whatever. This is not the point of my story.
After work last night, I waded through a cloud of humidity over to a nearby McDonald’s. A few weeks ago, I discovered that they were now selling smoothies and holy-freaking-cow-balls!- They are FANTASTIC … and exactly what I desired after an unusually warm shift (it’s usually hot but last night was particularly icky / end whine).
As I waited for my delicious, delicious drink to be blended, I overheard a conversation between two women who I assume were some sort of managers, judging from their all-black apparel and lack of McDonald’s polo shirts. Woman A* was talking about a lack of things to do. As their conversation continued (really, Woman B just nodded as Woman A loudly bitched), it became clear that Woman A was unhappy about an overall lack of things to do here, meaning, this city.
It was not immediately clear to me if Woman A was not originally from this area, or if she had just recently returned from a trip to or had just moved from our nation’s Capitol, but it was evident that she held Washington, D.C. in higher regard than St. Louis, MO.
I present paraphrased excerpts from her noisy complaining:
“There is nothing to do here except for the Arch, and that’s not all that great”
which led into:
“Everyone says the Arch is so cool, but once you’ve been up in the Washington Monument you know it’s not. Everyone says to me ‘Oh my god, how could you have never been up in the Arch before?’ like it’s some big deal [my note: implying that she has not been up in the Arch, right?]. When you’re in the Washington Monument, you can’t even see the people below. They’re, like, tiny dots. When you’re in the Arch, you can see all the people. You can even see what clothes they’re wearing [my note: bitch, you just basically told the whole restaurant that you’ve never been in the Arch, how the hell do you know what the view is like?].”
“When I was in D.C. there were bike paths everywhere! It was only 20 miles from where I was to D.C. and I could ride a bike on a path all the way there. There’s only one bike path in St. Louis and it’s, like, 6 miles long and only goes in a circle! It doesn’t go anywhere!” [my note: true. We’re not a Bike Town. But your statement is wrong. Right now, you are spewing overgeneralized bullshit out of your mouth-hole. Shut it.]
As if it were not obvious, Woman A annoyed me. Actually, she made me almost angry. But I heard on a cartoon once** that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. So I collected my smoothie and left.
But not without a little fuming, because for better or for worse, I took her verbal assault a bit too personally.
If I were feeling more confrontational, I might have interrupted her petulance with something like “I couldn’t help but overhear you. You should pick up a copy of the River Front Times sometime. It’s 60 pages of things to do here. Maybe you’ll find something that interests you” or (were I feeling really cocky) “Actually the Arch is about 75 feet taller than the Washington Monument” (I had to look that one up, though I was pretty sure it was taller before I had wiki-proof).
Unfortunately, even if I had ballsed myself up enough to approach her, I’m not sure I could have done anything to really change her mind. Even if she was born and raised here, it was clear she was not a St. Louis Person.
You’ll find non-SLPs even among lifelong residents of this town. They’re the folks whose sense of entitlement trumps any vestiges of creativity or senses of adventure. They’re the people who require entertainment of the flashy, easy, variety. The Zoo here is free? It must not be any good, they say. (these are usually the same morons who would bash Albert Pujols for not hitting a grand slam in the one game of the season they deigned to attend, and – Oh, Julie, you’re really getting irate now. Simmer down). In short: they’re the ones SLPs dread the most.
So who are the SLPs? They’re the ones know there is more than once entrance into Forest Park, the ones who avoid 40 at all costs, the ones who ventured downtown (or, gasp! even lived there) before the freaking Culinaria opened. They represent everything that is good and unique and quirky about this town. I myself am only about halfway there, but when I grow up, I want to be one. Real bad. There’s so much I do not know.
Except this: the SLPs don’t need to showboat about how great the city is. They let it speak for its own, classy, self. In short, they’ve learned when to keep their mouth-holes shut.
*A is for Asshole! Okay, maybe not really, but I couldn’t resist.
**This lesson did not come from my mother, of course.
The last time I logged into Facebook (which was only, like, one day ago) I posted a status that was something like “sick of FB, taking a break, if you want to get ahold of me let’s communicate like normal people” or something to that effect. Since that hastily-typed semi-thought, I’ve been inundated with folks wanting to know four things:
1. Is something wrong?
Is it something I did/said/posted?
Are you okay/feeling well/mentally sound?
2. Where are you?
I am travelling /moving outside the ranges of Facebook access
I am in hiding /Witness Protection
I am avoiding someone
3. How do I get ahold of you?
Has the cell phone number that you’ve had for the past three years changed?
And, perhaps the most disappointing:
4. Will I never hear from you again?
I only communicate with friends through Facebook
My absence from Facebook should be taken as a personal attack against that person in particular
Okay, so I exaggerate. The questions I’ve received have not been that frantically Worst-Case-Scenario-esque (though the first question seems to be pretty popular). However, I’ve welcomed each and every last one of these e-mails, texts, calls and instant messages because that is the “normal human communication” I was going for (and no, I wasn’t purposely baiting folks into talking to me).
See, I realized that if some Facebook-a-pocalypse were to Smote the Internets, there are a LOT – a loooooooot – of folks from whom I’d probably never hear again. These are mostly passing acquaintances; folks from my high school, students with whom I’ve worked, kids I’ve tutored, friends of friends I’ve only met once or twice. These are vague, semi-connections that, while meaningful at the time, were not really meant to last.
So I pared down my Friends List, removing the folks to whom I rarely (sometime never!) spoke, or the ones to whom I’ve not spoken in literally years (like the people who Friend Request you out of the blue, but don’t follow it up with a “Hi, how have you been doing?” message or Wall Post). I genuinely meant no disrespect by doing this. I just don’t think that being Facebook Friends actually means anything at all – but maybe that’s a generational thing. Facebook does sort of make me feel old (or at least my biological age) sometimes.
But more (probably much more) on that later.