Sunday, June 30, 2013

That Time I Destroyed Someone's Weekend

When I go to the HEB pharmacy, I usually see the same woman working at the counter.  I've noticed that she seems to have a hard time with people, but knowing that she gets yelled at or has to answer stupid questions all day long makes me feel for her.  (This is why I hide from people and believe I should stay locked in a room with books all day.)  She hardly smiles, so I make it a point to have a good conversation with her each time I go, even if all I can manage to get out is "Hello!" and "Did you cut your hair?  It's so cute!"  Maybe it's silly, but I just like the challenge of making this woman smile, just for a second.

But of course, me being me, I tend to have really great ideas and screw them up a lot.  I'm like a social klutz with an overabundance of good intentions and a lack of common sense.  Nobody ever thinks they'll be a Destroyer, but it seems to happen to me all the time, even though I use logic and pure scientific fact to point out that they're making a big deal of nothing.  For some reason, I still get surprised when this makes it worse.  (My dad refers to my klutziness as Lucy Ricardo Disease.)

At the end of February I was there for some allergy meds, because I'm allergic to Austin from December to April, and there wasn't even a line.  HEB was covered in notices about remembering to bring your own cloth bags beginning March 1st.  As the lady was putting the prescriptions into the little plastic zip bag they always used, she pointed to one of the notices.

Cashier:  Pretty soon we won't have plastic anymore, and we'll be saying, "Remember when we used to have plastic bags?"
Me:  Ha!  Just like, "Remember when Pluto was a planet?"

And then, unexpectedly, she started to freak out.

Cashier:  What? What happened to Pluto? Why isn't it a planet? Is it still there? Is it a star?
Me:  (trying to remain calm and matter-of-fact) It's fine. It's just been decided that Pluto doesn't meet the criteria to be considered a planet.
Cashier:  Who the hell gets to decide things like that? What if I decide that it is a planet again?
Me:  Well, scientists decided it. I wasn't too thrilled with the decision, either, at least for historical value.  Because, I'm from Kansas, and it's important to us.  I even have it on a shirt.  Believe me, I'll have words with Neil Degrasse Tyson if I meet him.  Like, "I liked Pluto; ergo, I do not like you."  Ha...ha?
Cashier:  It's just so sad. I thought we had nine planets.

Well, I had thought Pluto's tragic demise was old news, but I guess I don't get out enough.

Obviously, there were no smiles that day.

My thoughts, exactly.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

50 Shades of Gray Matter

This has been a week full of good and bad news.  The bad news is:  car wrecks suck, and they keep at it, even eight weeks later.  Who knew one Suburban could makes things so difficult?  So while I've dealt with more little tidbits of that unsolicited adventure, I haven't really felt like doing much of anything else, except being miserable.

The good news is:  I have officially been fitted for survival of the Zombie Apocalypse (proved the ZA comes with, or is perhaps caused by, some form of chemical warfare).
Respirators, now offering snazzy, fashionable colors for all your  toxic waste needs!
To be allowed to wear this fun monstrosity, I had to actually be fitted to make sure it sealed around my face, which just made me think of Face Huggers and how I really picked the wrong career for myself.  (Note the look of shock in my eyes as I realized I couldn't breathe.)

So, I filled out this long questionnaire and went back to the room for the fitting.  But, as it turns out, I was told I would have to wait for a doctor because I decided to be honest and check yes for "Asthma."  The doctor came back to ask why I had checked yes.  Well, um, because, asthma.

Doctor:  What are you going to be using this respirator for?
Me:  Well, as far as I know, just for dumping chemical waste.
Doctor:  Do you use other forms of masks or respirators for the rest of your work, like these over here?
Me:  No, just this one, and it won't be for every day.
Doctor:  Will you be using this respirator for anything else you can think of?
Me:  Maybe the Zombie Apocalypse.
Doctor:  Zombies?
Me:  I like to be prepared.  I think it's a good idea to have a Z-Day plan in place, because it could totally happen.
Doctor:  Zombies like reanimated dead people zombies?
Me:  Well, yeah.  I mean, I'm not gung-ho about it like some people.  I don't have a concrete bunker full of elephant guns.  That would be crazy.  I'm just saying I have a secret cabinet full of toilet paper, the ability to distill my own alcohol and perhaps synthesize ibuprofen, and I like to know where all my exits are.
Doctor:  Right. I'll have to think about this. Do you have any tactical plans for what to do once the zombies are here?
Me:  I'm part of an ark.  I'm pretty essential because of my aforementioned skills, but I think unfortunately it's going to come down to a game of Hide the Gwyn more than Fight the Zombies.
Doctor:  Why do you think that?
Me:  ....I thought it would be obvious.  Zombies are after brains.
Doctor:  Okay then, time to take a listen to those lungs.  I don't let anybody out of this room without listening to their lungs and looking in their ears.

I guess he has to get paid for something.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Life-Altering Decision

Okay, everybody, I've made a life-altering decision.  This is big, as usually I can’t even decide what to eat or which direction to take when walking my dog.  I've decided I need to be famous.  Yep.  That’s it. 

See, I've loved writing ever since I can remember.  I loved it so much that someone even bought me a typewriter for children, many years ago.  It was great, except I learned that I just liked the clicking noise of the buttons, and that didn't really make for good writing.  Somehow that typewriter disappeared rather quickly after all the paper I wasted.  When no one was around to demand my writing, I filled notebooks and napkins and every scrap piece of paper I could find, but when someone would say, “Okay, write something,” I would just stare at the paper in fear, like it was going to possess my soul.

The blank's so...pretty.

For some time, writing left my life.  I found that I had to work or pay bills or do other grown-up things that I’m really not qualified to do.  Even though I've been doing this for several years, I still think it’s all some big mistake.  Someone, somewhere, put my name on a list that said I was ready for the adult life, and they were wrong.  Yes, I go grocery shopping, but I don’t even know what grown-ups buy at the store.  I just go for bananas and baking ingredients.  Real dinner?  What’s that?  I do go to work every day, but I wake up every morning sad that I have to get dressed again, and so early.  I keep thinking there must be some better way to survive.
As much as I admire the great writers of the past, it seems that a lot of them had to be independently wealthy, starving artists, or supported by a rich patron.  My previous attempts at winning the lottery or finding a long lost wealthy relative have failed, so I have the options to starve or find myself a rich patron who thinks my writing is worth reading. Or, I could become famous.

"Rich patrons are the bomb, yo." ~Billy Shakes

So, I've been thinking.  I can write elaborate and beautiful dedications, witty and sarcastic remarks, or even wonderfully worded threats to bad neighbors.  But, if I had all the time in the world to write, I could do even more than that.  This is why I need to be famous.  In case you needed to see it in list form, I've made a list of pros and pros.

Pros (for me)
  • I could write all the time.
  • I wouldn't lose my mind doing the same thing day in and day out, only to worry about not being able to retire when I get old because of a crappy economy.
  • I could read books whenever I wanted!
  • My dog would be happier.
  • I wouldn't have to pretend how to be an adult anymore, but I would have time to learn how to get proper groceries.
  • I wouldn't have to get up and put on socks every day.  Heck, I could just not wear any regular clothes at all and stay in my pajamas all the time. (It’s really great for creativity, so I’m told.)

Pros (for you)
  • I could spend more time at HEB, hanging out with the weird people who seem to inspire my many adventures.
  • I could write all the time.
  • You would be keeping me from starving.
  • I could write for you.
  • You would have more funny stories to read, which would in turn make you a happier and less worried person.

See, I'm only concerned about you guys. If I become famous, I could do all these things and more.  Who knows?  Maybe I could start some sort of sock-less society where we could just wear flip-flops and drink margaritas all day long, because stress and socks are dumb. It would be great.  Also, just look at this dog.  Who wouldn't want him to be happy?  

In conclusion, somehow, I need to become famous.  I don't know very much about the whole process, except I think owning a small dog gives me an advantage.  But! You can share my blog on all of the social media, and maybe that would be a good way to start.  For my part, I'll even get a Twitter, which I had staunchly avoided until now because I believed the 140 character limit to be akin to a dropped phone call, and maybe a Facebook page.  Let's go crazy!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Games of Jones

I play a lot of games to make life brighter.  Sometimes these games are conscious choices, made a long time in advance, like the “This is what I love/this is what I hate” game.  I love songs that have silly lyrics, just to maintain the rhyme, like, “I really think you’re groovy. Let’s go out to a movie.”  I hate stepping in something wet when I’m wearing socks.  (Also? I hate wearing socks, in general, and I think I've just realized this might play a big part in that.) Sometimes the games are last-minute decisions, like, “If this handful of stuff I’m holding is exactly the right number of said stuff that I need for this thing, then I win!  However, if I have one piece of stuff too many or too few, then I double lose!”  There are other unintentional games, such as my (mostly) unexpected adventures at HEB.  And then, there’s a game I've played my whole life:  the game of happy.

The game of happy is closely related to what I love, but on a much bigger scale and more complex.  It isn't just about my favorite things; it’s about the ideal life in the perfect world, like having the library from Beauty and the Beast or a giant blanket fort instead of a bedroom.  I've been adding to the game as long as I can remember.  As a little girl, the happy was pretending that I was really English…or a hillbilly. I would speak in the accents so much that I couldn't stop, even when I wanted to, or was being yelled at by my parents when they stopped thinking it was funny.  To be fair, I also pretended that Mr. and Mrs. Howell were my parents, and they always thought I was funny.

"Lovey, she cracks me up!"

As I got older, the game got older, too.  I started adding details of things I could put in my life that would make me happy.  I had never really told that many people, because the game is different for everybody.  To win, only I have to be happy, and it doesn't matter how silly or dumb someone else thinks it is.  Some time ago, I was visiting with my doctor, who was sad that a trip to see a specialist hadn't come about with a perfect answer or cure that she was hoping for.  She was so concerned with how I was taking it, that I decided maybe the happy would help her, too. 

Doc:  What would make you happy?
Me:  Oh, that’s simple.
Doc:  You?  Simple?
Me:  Of course!  I have it all planned out.  Someday I’m going to live in England.  Up north, probably.  I’ll have a whole pack of corgis named for the Royal Family, and I’ll even get a gimpy one and name him Charles.  I’d like to have sheep, and at least two of them need to be the kind with the black faces.  I’ll name them Al Jolson and Gene Wilder.  Oh, and then an old Clydesdale, too.  I love them because they have big feet.  And, I’ll name him Dover so that I can always tell him to move his bloomin’ arse.
Doc:  O…kay.  Did you tell your dad about this?  What did he think about you moving to England and, uh…the rest?
Me:  Oh, he says it would be cool if I could train the sheep so that instead of bleating “Baaaah,” they go, “Maaaammy.” 
Doc:  I think I must be missing something here.
Me:  Probably a lot of somethings.

Be cool.  Shake it, but don't break it.

By now, I have hundreds of details in the game.  Some are as innocuous as having a field of sunflowers, while others are very intricate and would require a lot of planning, like having my own labyrinth.  I already have it designed with a mirror in the center, because a labyrinth is supposed to represent a reflection of self and meditating upon the center of your mind and soul.  In my labyrinth, you would notice anamorphic art that looks completely abstract from far away.  As you twist and turn your way to the center, the image stays abstract, until you get to the end.  Then, with the angle just right, you look into the mirror and see David Bowie.  It might be un-Christian of me, but I figure that there could be a lot worse than David Bowie hanging out in the innermost part of my soul.  

If you were curious, here's my dad's reaction to the David Bowie thing, after I was able to explain anamorphic art so that he didn't think I had just made it up or that I was talking about those Magic Eye illusion books that none of us could ever actually see.

Dad:  Would it be David-now-Bowie or David-iconic red hair-Bowie?
Me:  I was thinking David-spandex, codpiece, king of the goblins-Bowie.
Dad:  Why?  Oh, duh.  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ballad of a Sick Day

I have to admit, after many hours of working on this post, I'm a little nervous.  Okay, so I'm a lot nervous.  It seems like one of those ideas you have right when you're falling asleep, and you think it's the greatest idea in the whole world, until you wake up.  My brain works like this constantly, but it won't let an idea die until I do, write, or make whatever it is my brain is so excited about.  It's just, this idea came with pictures.  They are meant to be unflattering, and they do a great job.  But they're of me!  Also, I'm not very great at playing pretend, and I find that I didn't have a lot of reasons to frown and look miserable while at Kristin's house.  In fact, I had a lot of reasons to giggle, including a precious three year old who kept yelling things like, "Gwyndolyn, where's the TARDIS?  Is the TARDIS hiding?"  Anyway, I'm going to stick with this and hope for a good outcome, even if it is a bit silly and unflattering.

Last week, I started to get sick with the worst sore throat I've had in over a year.  Seeing as I'm between doctors, I tried to call a local clinic to speak to a nurse and see about a walk-in appointment.

Receptionist:  Well, we can't let you speak to a nurse if you don't have a doctor here.
Me:  I don't have a doctor anywhere.  What I do have is scarlet fever.
Receptionist:  Oh my.
Me:  Well, it could be worse.  WebMD says it's throat cancer.
Receptionist:  I'm really sorry, but you have to have a doctor to talk to a nurse.
Me:  None of this makes sense.  What if I tell you my symptoms so that we can figure out who I need to see, or how I can get one of these appointments so that I can see a doctor?
Receptionist:  If you don't have a doctor, you can't just make an appointment.
Me:  But this is bad.  I'm hot then I'm cold.  Oh my gosh!
Receptionist:  What?
Me:  I'm a Katy Perry song.
Receptionist:  What?  Are you all right?

A big thank you to Kristin, who helped with the execution of this idea by taking all of the pictures and editing them.  She's the artist behind all of my creative thoughts.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

One Man's Trash is Another's....Best Friend?

I was just leaving HEB, thinking how nice it was to have a normal, boring trip.  I had even met up with a friend inside to have a nice conversation.  Could it be that nothing weird would happen on this grocery run?

Of course not!

As I got out the door, I noticed a man running up the parking lot, pushing a shopping cart in front of him.  He was running rather quickly, so I stopped moving, afraid that any direction I took would cause him to hit me when he got closer.  Instead, he ran smack into one of the trashcans that sits outside the front doors.  BANG!  The trashcan started to wobble, and the man began yelling.  “Sit!  Stay!  Damn it, stay!” 

All the while, I had moved quickly to push the trashcan so that it wouldn’t fall over, seeing as how his yells did little to combat all of Newton’s Laws of Motion.  As I stood there, he looked up at me and said, “You know, I don’t think this would make for a very good dog.”

I just shook my head, replied, “Of course not, because, it’s a trashcan,” and walked off toward my car.  I guess I’m just destined for adventure, even on the boring days.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A New Adventure

Not long after I moved to Austin, I realized I needed to know more than the fact that it has 80 zip codes, compared to the whopping ONE in the town where I grew up.  For one thing, I was going to need food at some point.  I was so overwhelmed, and lost, that I actually Googled grocery stores near my apartment.  The closest thing I had to my location was H. E. Butt Food.  I remember yelling out to my roommate that Texans were crazy.  Who goes to a store called Butt Food?  And I guess that’s why we know it only as HEB.  In any case, that is where I almost always do my shopping, and I guess that's why we're all here.

HEB and I have a very long, adventurous history.  If you’ve read all of my posts on Facebook, you’ll probably be bored seeing them all again, so I’m starting with one I’ve never written before.  (I have to be able to hook you somehow, right?) 

It seems like no matter how much I try to avoid an adventure or just think I’m “running in” for one quick item, something strange happens, but I still try to get through each trip unscathed.  One of my tactics is to use the self-checkout if at all possible.

I like to use the self-checkout for two reasons. 

Sometimes, I just can’t handle the dumb.  Sure, people say I have a lot of patience, but there are definitely times when I don’t suffer fools gladly.  Going through a regular checkout line is just an invitation for someone to ask me if people are colorblind like dogs are colorblind, if I knew that dog treats weren’t for people, or if rhubarb tastes red. 

More importantly, self-checkout makes me less self-conscious about the fact that I rarely buy anything that normal adults use for daily food consumption, and instead I’m just doing a quick run for 36 ounces of Baker’s chocolate, two pounds of butter, and a carton of heavy cream.  I don’t need to be on some list somewhere (Baker Today, Diabetic Tomorrow? I don’t know what it’s called, but I’m sure there’s a list.).  I don’t need judgment from the woman behind me who has only gluten-free, vegan items and a cart half-full of kale just because I haven’t figured out how to be an adult and only think of the grocery store as a place to stock up on my next baking adventure and green bananas.  And the last thing I need is to get to the front of the line and after the checker has scanned all of my items, have him look up at me slowly and say, “You bakin’ something?”  Because that’s when I can’t help but answer something along the lines of, “No, actually, I’ve discovered that chocolate chips in cream make a much more balanced breakfast than Cheerios in skim milk” and then go home feeling guilty for being unable to keep my cynical, sarcastic thoughts to myself.

Even with all this precaution, I’ve long suspected that HEB was keeping tabs on everything I was buying somehow.  As of today, all of my suspicions were confirmed when I hadn’t even finished checking out, and not one, but three of these babies printed in front of my very eyes.  

So, HEB, you win this round.  Or maybe…I win.