Just beneath the surface of normal

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I am My Own Internet Troll

Jim and I were in the car yesterday afternoon running errands when one of those random things slipped out of my mouth. I can’t tell you what happened in my brain the split second before except to say that I was looking at a moire pattern made by pine needles. The next thing I know I’m singing, “when a series of rays intersect and make waves, that’s a moire!” because that’s just how my brain works.

Jim drove in stunned silence for a moment. Then he shook his head and said, “only you.”

Since we had time to kill at the Jiffy Lube, I made my very first macro:

A Moire

Except in this image they’re not rays because all the straight line moire patterns made it too hard to read the words. Also, if this makes you have a seizure, I’m really, really sorry.


But I’m not at all happy with it because of course those aren’t rays at all, but concentric circles. And of course they make a perfectly lovely moiré pattern, so my definition isn’t even accurate, which totally opens me up for trolling. But I was shooting for a rhyme. Strictly speaking, I didn’t really even do that very well, so I’m pretty sure by troll logic I should go ahead and throw myself off a bridge.* But I was so pleased with “that’s a moiré” that I decided to run with it anyway, because supposedly succeeding at the internet means having a thick skin for the haters so I should probably practice (does that still work when it’s internally generated, or does it just make a thicker barrier to better retain the misanthropy?) before the actual trolls show up.

Technically, the definition for moiré is “a secondary and visually evident superimposed pattern created, for example, when two identical (usually transparent) patterns on a flat or curved surface (such as closely spaced straight lines drawn radiating from a point or taking the form of a grid) are overlaid while displaced or rotated a small amount from one another.” But that rhymes even less than “rays” and “waves” and totally lacks the proper rhythm. Also, cut me some slack, people – I came up with this out of  nowhere! Creativity takes a lot of revision. But I don’t usually have the patience for revision, which is why I mostly avoid creating things, because the first attempt is sort of a mess and I just give up. Because of imaginary trolls.

So if you can come up with a more apt rhyme and definition, feel free to revise it. Because it’s almost-but-not-quite meme-worthy. Eat that, trolls – I beat you to the punch. Consider this the “First!” post.


*don’t worry, I neither intend to throw myself off a bridge or really hate myself. I was just running with the troll metaphor. In case you were worried. Which you probably weren’t, because your skin is thicker than mine.

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My Own Special Brand of Gratitude

My morning got off to a horrible start. I wanted to hide in bed, all my clothes showed every one of the 15 pounds I’ve gained since I started this job and (because clearly someone replaced my normal mirror with a fun-house mirror) about 30 extra just for fun. Also I missed the train by seconds. So I spent my morning under a giant stormy raincloud of “fuck all of this”. But for some reason, the Internet seems determined to help me get over it. My Facebook feed was inexplicably full of things that made me laugh or smile. Or breathe.

First, there was this commercial for Thai life insurance that made me all squishy over being kind just because it feels good. It’s nice to see that at least someone in the world doesn’t always sell things to people by making them feel afraid and inadequate. Anyway, it kind of made me want to be nice helpful again, instead of keeping a death-ray behind my desk. Not that I’m giving up my death-ray (not that I have one – not that I’d tell you if I did).

Then there was goats playing on sheet metal. I laughed so much that I watched it three times. Because one of those goats is a total dick. The other two are like, “look at our awesome synchronized jump-balance” and the brown one’s all “nope”  like that kid who knocks down your gravity-defying sandcastle. I don’t know what’s up with the bystander. I guess there’s always one.

Sprinked liberally among these treasures were images of people making choices to be happy, grateful, loved, etc. Barring mornings after half of my friends inexplicably had insomnia on the same night, my feed never has such a carefully curated message: get over it and choose to enjoy your damn day.

Since gratitude is one of those things that’s supposed to help (ed note: it totally did), I’ve decided to write about what I’m most grateful for right now: that someone else cleans my house.

It was over a year in coming. My friend Susie has been trying to get me to call the girl who cleans her apartment since she found her on Craigslist – possibly the only honest, enthusiastic, affordable independent housekeeper ever to post on Craigslist (sorry if you are also all of those things – I totally wasn’t talking about you because you’re obviously also the only…..on Craigslist). “It’s not your gift,” she told me, “leave it to someone who loves it and needs the money and spend your energy elsewhere. Everyone is more productive in a clean house – think of all the things you like doing that could finally get done!” I agreed, but there’s a lot of conditioned shame around being a woman who doesn’t keep a spotless and gracious house – especially when she’s also unemployed – and I avoided facing the reality for as long as possible. All of that new domestic goddess porn all over Pinterest doesn’t help. I keep thinking that if I pin enough pictures of organized spaces, it will magically happen (it hasn’t). I think Susie even gave me a cleaning for my birthday last year, but I never got around to it.

Time went by. We made a few attempts to schedule, but I am terrible at phone calls and I finally had to just text her in order to make it happen. Thank goodness for the 21st century. I would be a damn hermit without it.

It helped that my dad and step-mom were coming for a visit and my house was in terrifying condition. I’m not sharing pictures because I didn’t take any, because why would anyone take a picture of their messy house? But I did an image search of “messy house” and at least discovered that it could be much worse – well, maybe not in the kitchen. I mean, it’s not hoarders bad, and I do clean when company is coming (which is at least twice a year and sometimes I invite strangers over just so I’ll have to clean), but there was just no way I was going to be able to catch up in time. Every pile – every stampeding herd of dust bunnies – mocked me and sent me to the couch in a stupor of overwhelm and frantic crochet-soothing.

AJ finally came on the day my folks were due to fly in. Yes, under the wire IS my favorite place – why do you ask?

She stayed for six hours. I have a small 1920′s catalog house with 3 microscopic bedrooms and one cavernous pink-tiled bathroom. The whole thing is 7 rooms. We skipped the bedrooms, because they’re not clean enough to be cleaned yet (which makes the most perverted sense in the world, but whatever). So the magical power of math tells me that’s 4 rooms in 6 hours, and the magical power of deduction tells you that I’m not being modest about the condition of my house. But here’s the most remarkable part, and the thing that keeps me in reverent gratitude almost a week later: she washed the walls. THE WALLS, you guys. It never even occurred to me to wash walls. I’ve been cleaning my house wrong (on the rare occasion I do it) my entire life. I don’t even know what to believe anymore.

I think I understand now what Susie meant about it not being my gift. Because AJ evidently loves to clean. And doesn’t like to sit still. Which I can barely comprehend, because I didn’t even know there were people who don’t like to sit. It’s like she’s my dark half – or maybe I’m hers. Either way, my gifts are cooking, crocheting, writing, daydreaming, connecting with people, being a supportive friend, having adventures, having a good relationship with both my husband and teenage daughter, and healing from a whole host of childhood/early adult traumas. I like doing those things. I like them unfathomably more than cleaning – yes, even therapy. But she’s the one who decided my walls needed washing – it’s her gift, who am I to question our differences? She makes decent money by doing what she’s good at, and I make decent money sitting behind a desk and being nice to people all day (even when they’re being petulant assholes). I’m happy to give her some of it to never, ever have to scrub a wall. Ever.


It still wound up being a lot of work for me, running around in the room she’d be working on next to triage enough clutter to allow her to clean. But I would work for a bit and then take a break while she scrubbed away and I watched with crippling (or possibly just beer-drinking, relaxing) shame as I sat there while someone else did the job I’m “supposed to” be able to stay on top of because of my vast trove of innate uterus-having abilities. I’ve scheduled her for an upcoming Sunday to help me organize and declutter so that I can do even less when she comes and she can hopefully escape us in less time.

All of this is to say that I have come home from work every day to a clean, soothing home (well, except for the bedroom and TV room but that’s all on me), and I am grateful beyond words for the ability to pay someone to take that stress away. Once upon a time, long long ago, my family and I were a few bucks from homelessness. I grew up on public assistance. Maybe some people need a life of impossible luxury to feel like a princess, but I just need someone to clean my house.

Which just goes to show, it pays to have low standards.


+4 Nerdplay

It’s registration week, so you get another IM transcript.

Background: I’ve been having some anxiety lately because I made some mistakes* at work, and I can’t really tell the difference between “hey, don’t do that again, okay?” and “I will smite you with the firepower of a thousand dragons for your minor clerical error!”

Jim: Hey just checking in. Hope you’re doing okay.

Me: I’m alright. Less freaked than in the past, but not where I want to be. So I don’t feel awesome, but I’m not totally collapsed into the pit of despair either.

Jim: Okay. Remember to breathe, it really helps. <u>

Me: Thanks. {{u}}
Curious why you’ve moved to caret hugs from bracket hugs
Not that it matters

Jim: Dunno. carets are squeezes, braces are hugs

Me: OH! I thought maybe you were HTMLing me

Jim: LOL no
that would be <hug>Maya</hug>

Me: I guess I shouldn’t worry until you type </u>
or maybe that just means you’re underlining me

I do sort of like <hug>Maya</hug> though.

OMG, I actually just felt my nerd stats level me up.


*In defense of my anxiety response, it was one of those times when every minor, unnoticed mistake I’ve made for the past 4 months came back to haunt me all in the same week, so I looked like a completely incompetent flakeball instead of an intermittently competent flakeball, which I’ve pretty much learned to live with.

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There’s a Tribe For Everyone

Last Friday night, for the fourth week in a row, Corinne and I went to belly dance class. It’s not for performance, and it’s definitely not pretty; it’s just a group of women who wanted to learn to dance and enjoy fitness when it’s getting together and trying to make their bodies follow directions for 90 minutes a week. Mostly it’s fine, because there are no mirrors so we don’t have to look at ourselves, thus never knowing whether we actually manage to look graceful or like robots trying to move around on a single wheel. It’s probably for the best.

Me belly dancing. Only with a lot more belly and a whole lot less balance.

But sometimes you just know that you look absurd. There’s no question, because your body knows the movements from elsewhere.

Take, for example, doing hip circles while walking. Hip circles by themselves are fine; I know how to hula hoop and it’s a pretty comfortable motion. Walking I’ve been doing for the better part of forty years, though admittedly there are days when I forget how, or else some days the floor becomes particularly aggressive. Together? I recognized the move immediately:

Me bellydancing

Hip circles + walking + arms up = zombie. Look, he even has those graceful belly dance arms down better than I do.
(credit: Shambling Zombie by Jim Pavelec)

Like most things that cross my mind randomly, I said it out loud, and within minutes we were planning a troupe dance with full undead costume. Nobody else in the room is particularly enamored with the zombie craze either (personally I agree with Chomsky), but you have to admit: dressing like zombies in coin belts makes all the newbie woodenness look totally intentional.

You know you’re with the right group when instead of rolling their eyes and wishing you’d shut the hell up, your classmates up the ante and suggest a public display of this absurdity. Is it any wonder I look forward to Fridays so much?

[I swear this is not a non-sequitur] So there’s this thing I’ve noticed with middle-school aged kids: when they do something unexpected and funny and you laugh, they will proceed to try to do it again and again, looking for the same response they got the first (and maybe the second) time. After awhile it just gets annoying and you sort of wrestle with whether or not to shatter their fragile self-esteem by explaining that once is funny, but ninety times is seriously fucking annoying. This is me. I never entirely grew out of it. If I can get one laugh, I can certainly get more. I don’t usually grasp the concept of quitting while I’m ahead — at least not in time.

Which is how I found myself talking about vibrators in belly dance class.

I swear, it was totally germane to the conversation. See, one of the women has a boyfriend who is a massage therapist, which of course inspired envy in everyone else in the room, especially the one whose husband can’t figure out where to rub even if she’s pointing directly at it.

Which led ME to say, “which makes you the only person on the planet who uses the Hitachi Magic Wand for its intended purpose.”

See? Totally relevant.

But then I imagined being the teacher and dealing with someone who has to say something silly every two minutes, and giggles whenever she makes a mistake (by which I mean both me and our teacher) and I think that I would drive me up a fucking wall. Which, in truth, I often do. And the rest of the class was spent with me wondering why I ever open my big mouth at all, and whether Corinne was embarrassed (hard to tell standing behind her), and focusing on trying not to be intrusive for the rest of class.

After class, I approached our teacher and just straight up told her: “Look, if I talk too much or joke too much or am in any way obnoxious? Please just say so. I don’t want to disrupt the class. Sometimes these things just pop into my head and slip out before I can think about it. But my self-censor does take requests.”

Luckily she’s got a good sense of humor and insisted that she appreciates my little remarks because they make class fun. Corinne likewise swears she wasn’t embarrassed, which pretty much makes her the only almost-seventeen-year-old in the universe who isn’t embarrassed by her mother.

Uncensored weirdness AND complete acceptance. Am I lucky or what?

My tribe

There are no photos of my own not-really-a-troupe, but I found this online because evidently zombie belly dance isn’t an original idea. Which actually says a lot about how awesome the world is and probably gets me off the hook for actually having to create a costume or something. Point is: as alone as you may feel, there is always someone out there as awesomely odd as you in exactly the same way. Usually more than one. (photo credit:

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DST Should Probably Wear a Cup

If Daylight Savings Time were a person, I would kick him repeatedly in the balls. I don’t know why I think DST is a guy, except that it was totally designed by men and exactly the kind of coercive fuck-over is very reminiscent of some of my poorer young adult choices. “C’mon, babe, it’s just an hour – what harm would a little hour do? You’re not a prude are you?” See? DST is totally a douche.

I’m not exactly the kind of person who condones gratuitous irritation-based violence, either. I have studiously avoided the whole “makes me stabby/want to punch ___ in the face/etc” meme that won’t die. Eight years of therapy has me all seeking to understand like a graduate of the Ivan Pavlov Institute for the Harmlessly Insane. And yet, there is no bell loud enough to keep me from actively and violently hating the week after our clocks are randomly shifted in either direction. People didn’t talk this way when there were still violent cartoons. Thanks a lot, Children’s Television Act.

My entire ability to act as a functional member of society is predicated on carefully moderated routines regarding bedtime and wake-up-time and light therapy and medication and eating. In one fell swoop the whole thing comes crashing down and I’m essentially jetlagged for a whole damn week (I’m horrid with jetlag – inevitably I adjust to the new time the day before it’s time to go home).

This past Sunday was especially crappy because Jim has pneumonia – well, technically it’s almost-pneumonia, but that’s too complicated and everyone’s so sympathetic when I just say “pneumonia” so I may have just discovered the magic word for martyrs. Anyway, he’s been all coughs and moans since like Friday and I’ve been fetching 90,000 cups of tea and delivering food in bed and picking up lozenges at the store, etc. So last weekend was kind of the weekend that wasn’t. Which is fine, it’s not his fault (though we did have to cancel my fancy birthday dinner, about which I think I’m being a remarkably good sport, though I’m pretty sure Jim is still testing his tea for poison just in case). And for the record? I totally told him it wasn’t Whooping Cough.

Anyway, so I was already exhausted on Sunday. Monday I staggered into work like a hung-over junkie. I don’t actually remember what happened, it was a mostly haze of intravenous tea and whining and a supremely awkward and territorial interdepartmental meeting (WTF is it with universities and territoriality?).


“No, Bob, you listen to ME!”      —       Actually both of you can listen to me, because you know what? We’re bureaucrats. And not even important ones. If ever there was a group of people who belonged on Golgafrincham Ark Ship B, it would be us. How ’bout instead we work together for the greater good and celebrate the outrageously good pay & benefits we get for what is ultimately a ridiculously low-pressure job?

Afterward, there were naps, in direct and gleeful defiance of my doctor’s orders. Yesterday was only slightly better (mostly due to the lack of meetings), and I only thank my lucky stars that I got to use Jim’s pneumonia to get out of going to Secretary at the PTA meeting.

Today I was pretty sure was going to be better. It’s in the 60′s and gorgeous and I decided to wear a skirt. I miss skirts – and there’s only a short window when they’re enjoyable to wear, because once it gets hot then there’s thigh chafing unless you wear pantyhose or those spanx shorts things, which nobody wants to do because a) pinchy! and b) sweaty. Do you think antiperspirant would work on inner thighs?

Wait, you know what? Forget I just said that.

But so I was all ready to be springy and pretty and un-chafy today, and I had a delightfully temperate stroll from the train to my office. At my desk, I went to change from my walking shoes into my little black ballet flats when I made the sort of discovery that causes tight zooms and tense music in horror movies: no flats in the bag. Evidently in my Spring-Ahead-induced fog, I somehow forgot to put them into the bag despite having had them in my hands right before I left. It’s like a lost moment in time where anything could have happened. I guess I should be glad it was just vanishing shoes.

Which means I spent my day wearing a skirt and sneakers, like an old commuter.

skirt & sneaks

Skirt & sneakers: even less of a chance of becoming a trend than Panty Hats.

On the bright side, one of our student workers was having a really bad day. To cheer her up, I got up from my desk and showed her my outfit. She laughed for a full minute, y’all.

So see? Looking like a dork is a public service. I am truly a woman of the people.

Joke’s on you, Daylight Savings Time. The week’s not over, though, so I wouldn’t take off that cup just yet.


My Own Worst Enemy

This is not my time of year. I mean, we already know I’m the poster child for Seasonal Affective Disorder, but if winter is the Pacific Ocean, then late February through Mid-March is the Marianas Trench; in theory it’s got a bottom, but it’s a long, long way down. And it gets more dark and surreal the further down you go.

what late winter depression looks like

Dude, I’m SO fucking ready for spring.

From last year’s post on the topic, we know that this is the time of year that saw me drop out of college when I was eighteen so that I could stay home and watch golf on TV alone in the dark because it was so soothing. That’s right: at 18 I opted for golf in the dark over a warm early-spring day, or friends, or boys, or my birthday. And I don’t even play golf. But I guess there was something about the green grass and the slow, papery voices that made me feel safe and calmed the overwhelm of navigating being newly on my own on a huge anonymizing campus with no structure, unlimited freedom, a full-time course load, a full-time job, and untreated PTSD and depression. Eventually all the avoidance just crushes you. While I haven’t actually hit that low since, not a late winter goes by that I don’t drift down into the trench and remember the warm cocoon of golfy oblivion.

Somehow that was twenty years ago. Now I have a light box, two different antidepressants, a gym membership, a juicer, a CPAP, a carefully regulated sleep schedule, and a house full of supportive family to keep me on track. And still I feel the sinking when this time of year rolls around. It probably doesn’t help that the blue light of my light box always makes me think of being in a submarine in Barbados, which also happened this time of year:

Also gives you a sinking feeling. But with tropical fish and a shipwreck instead of a cup of tea and a laptop on yet another cold and dreary day.

Worse? I can’t drink coffee anymore. Coffee used to be my life raft this time of year and I kept my doses low the rest of the year so that come mid-February I could double it and vibrate my way through. But in January, when I started the second medication, it started causing things like panic attacks and vertigo, so we said a teary, Ativan-soaked goodbye. We’ll always have Yirgachaffe. I’ve since funneled that frustrated energy into being absurdly well-versed in tea, though I do still occasionally sate my frustrated Arabica lust with fair trade organic decaf and revel in the memories of French presses past. But seriously, even WITH coffee I feel like crawling in a cave and full-on hibernating (fecal plug and all), and the gallons of tea I down every day has not even come close to stilling the relentless fatigue-induced eyelid twitch that has been my near-constant companion since shortly after Halloween. That is not helping things much. But I have to admit, lack of panic attacks and random sober bedspins is nice; most of the time I manage to choose it over still eyelids.

Regardless of my chosen caffeine delivery system, I also get really, really flaky this time of year. So I’ll think of this really great idea for a blog post and then I’ll totally forget by the time I get to a computer. And then I’ll remember again when I’m on the train – underground, with no signal. Needless to say, I’m not getting much of anywhere with writing right now. Most of my amusing moments these days occur in short pithy comments because I can’t muster the focus to draw it out into a whole post.

Like how there’s this student whose last name is close enough to “Mangina” that I ALWAYS have to retype it. He very briefly even got a file folder that said that. It’s a good thing I’m not in the Registrar’s office, where it might wind up on his actual diploma. Or – God forbid – his transcript. Of course if anyone is gonna screw up somebody’s chances at grad school with an unfortunate typo, it’s gonna be me. Imagine if he had to legally change it in order to get accepted so that eventually he had to go by Dr. Mangina. All because I have the sensibilities of a twelve-year-old boy.

But that little paragraph is all I have to say on the subject. Do you really want to read a 50-word post? Probably not. It’s like the written equivalent of tapas: lovely, but not nearly enough.Hell, maybe I should start Tweeting in earnest if that’s all I can muster. Though I honestly can’t think of Twitter without thinking of that scene in The Lonely Guy where everyone is shouting a name on the rooftops, and no one is listening, so I always have an irrational twinge of shame when I post. Especially to a famous person who doesn’t know who the hell I am. Hi, this is me, inadvertently e-stalking you. I swear I’m not creepy. Much.

Nor do you probably want to read yet another IM Transcript, where a good half of my decent material happens these days. That being said, here’s another one because I can’t resist a cheap laugh:

David: Thought of the day: Where are the children’s industrial albums?
Me: At the bottom of the remainder bin where they belong.
Or possibly at the Charles Manson Community Daycare
David: Heh
Trent Reznor’s Muppet babies
Me: Our talents for developing sketch comedy premises are totally wasted.
Because that would be freakin’ hilarious.
David: Not as much as Quentin Tarantino’s Muppet Babies
Me: “do you know what they call diapers in France?”

Also, I keep thinking things that keep me from writing like, “why does everyone speak in hyperbole all the time anymore? Like something can’t just be lovely, it has to be completely fucking epically awesome.” And since I kind of tend to speak in hyperbole myself, I’m suddenly keeping my mouth shut and saying things like “lovely,” which is completely fucking epically boring.

Still, despite the cold, the fatigue, the full-time job that it surviving the winter, and the lack of much interesting to say, I did just manage to write some words. That’s how you make art, and I should probably give myself points for that.

Nah. Because then I’d be my own worst frenemy. And I completely fucking epically hate that word.

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Working Is Weird

You know, I’ve never really thought before about what a strange thing working is.

But it totally is; the workplace is this sort of artificially-induced intimacy between a bunch of people with nothing more in common than that they get paid by the same entity to be in the same place for eight or nine hours a day. As a result of that proximity, they wind up sharing a lot about themselves, but guardedly so because there is an actual book of rules governing how you’re supposed to talk to one another and what’s grounds for dismissal, like streaking or taking student workers as pets (why don’t marriages and parenting have these handbooks?). Also, because you have almost nothing in common, everyone else is potentially a gossiping, judgmental asshole, so it’s like a minefield of hidden enemies. When you find one person who seems to be pretty okay with your personal brand of weirdness – or better yet, has an actual sense of humor – you hang onto them like a floating door next to a homicidal iceberg. AND – and this is maybe the strangest part – I’m one of those people to everyone else I work with.

And we spend more time with each other than our own families, who while they may not always like the unvarnished us, definitely love and accept us for exactly who we are.

Herein lies the problem: I’ve spent the last couple years either a full-time student, freelancing, or unemployed. I am always exactly who I am. I don’t have closely guarded filters or a host of situational personae. I can’t if I hope to ever make another blog post again. I don’t care what people know about me, and I’m not really sure I understand why it’s not good for students to know about your personal life or your absurd sense of humor if your job is just to help them navigate their academic path through school. We’re all adults here, for goodness’ sake & I’d rather relate to them person-to-person than have some kind of weird faux age- and position-based authority. I’m sure there must be a reason why this is the norm at universities, but I have yet to get a reason that makes me want to filter myself at work. Maybe there will come a day when someone explains it to me and I’ll reconsider, but aside from the paycheck, I’m here for the connection; no point in building walls for their own sake.

So this is me, three months into full-time job having: I haven’t met my department’s life preserver yet, and I’m still sort of paddling around, mentally sizing up every conversation I have for tiny clues that someone else wears a thin veneer of normal over a thick, crunchy center of freak-flag (and the award for the Mixiest Metaphor goes to…). In the meantime, I am in a constant state of acute self-consciousness over my behavior, which is only not crippling through the miracles of modern medicine. But I can’t help myself. While I was writing this, I turned the bottom of my shirt inside out to detach a tag that was bothering me with a staple puller. I am aware that this may make other people look at me askance, but I’m on the right antidepressants so I don’t actually care enough to go do it in the bathroom (wow, we really do mostly filter ourselves based on anxiety about how we might be judged, don’t we?). I blurt out random things that I find interesting and amusing, and where Jim or Corinne might laugh or look interested, I just get these puzzled looks from the people in the desks around me. I suck at pretending that I can’t overhear someone else’s conversation, or pretend that I can’t see the computer screen of one of my coworkers, who must have a new girlfriend because he’s suddenly started shopping for flowers and jewelry. I manage it, but it feels sort of like they don’t know I’ve seen them naked (a metaphor – I definitely haven’t seen any of my coworkers naked). I offer to make people scarves with my new ninja crochet skills, and everyone sort of awkwardly declines.

I keep hoping that in the long term my weirdness will be a good thing. Like somehow my be-yourself influence will rub off on everyone and reservations will become something you make for dinner again, and we can all have a good time. But I don’t think I’ve ever been the influencer anywhere I’ve ever been so it’s admittedly kind of a long shot.

Instead of opening them up, I just make people uncomfortable when I hang a little Miley Cyrus on one of the office nonspecific winter holiday (but not really because what other holiday involves trees and ornaments?) ball ornaments and then when the judgment fest begins, announce that I kind of like her and remind everyone of Britney’s big “I’m no longer a Disney star and therefore am allowed to have functioning genitals” coming of age media blitz, which they suddenly see as no big deal. And I actually think that’s pretty awesome, because that means that girls kissing on TV is no big deal anymore, even to some of the serious conservatives in my office (or at least compared to twerking, the reasons for which are a whole different rant). It’s not the sea change I was looking for, but I’ll take what I can get.

like a Christmas Ball

Not a work ornament, but you get the idea. Yes, I did this at home, too. The bear can’t even look. Slut-shamer.

Anyway, now that I’m settled into my new job, hopefully the misadventure quotient is about to rise. Also? I really wish you were my coworker. We would have so much fun.


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