I’m Such a Rebel

This weekend, Tom and I went to an antiques store. It was huge – old stuff as far as the eye could see. I don’t like to look at old stuff with a full bladder so I sought out the bathroom. As soon as I opened the door, I was greeted with this cheery message:

Dire Warning

“OH YEAH, just watch me flush the toilet after my use,” I thought to myself. What can I say, I’ve always been a bit of a rebel.

There were two stalls. In one stall some square had dutifully done what THE MAN told her to do – not flush. I rolled my eyes at such blind compliance to the arbitrary rules of antiques store society.

I used the other stall, and with the defiance of a thousand James Deans and Marlon Brandos, I flushed that toilet.

I washed my hands thoroughly, held my head high and swaggered out of the bathroom, expecting to be dragged away by the antique store authorities. But, no one was there. I had gotten away with it! What a rush!

People, you gotta live by your own rules if you really want to live.

I didn’t write on the walls though, that would be rude.

P.S. I’m starting to become disturbed about how often I write about public restrooms.

It’s five o’clock dinners and mall walking for me from here on out.

I’m thirty-five years old. I have a sister who’s four years younger than me with two beautiful children ages four (girl) and twenty months (boy).

Last month, my niece’s daycare had a little holiday recital. I was really excited to go because this is the type of thing I was looking forward to seeing since my husband and I moved back up to our home state, North Carolina, from Georgia.

It was very simple; you’re not getting a full-scale production with four year olds, although that would probably be adorable. The kids came out with little Santa hats on, attempted to sing “Jingle Bells” and a few other songs in unison, kind of did it, and then it was over. Each child also had the opportunity to explain to the audience what the holidays mean to them – every audible answer I heard involved candy and presents (sorry Jesus, etc.). I couldn’t hear what my niece said, and when I asked her later, she told me, “I didn’t say nothing.” So touching.

After the show, everyone filed into the classroom to eat cupcakes and then watch sugar-rushed children run around and scream. This is when things went south.

As my sister an I were standing around, attached to each other as we tend to be during social situations (she’s the “outgoing” one by about 2%), one of my niece’s teachers came up to us. She said something like, “You must be the grandma!”

Yes, she motherfucking said that.

I was having a hard time processing it. I’m sure I looked like a deer in the headlights, but  also with a lot of confusion on my face because, for example, I noticed that a deer was also driving the car. So, as I stood there, my bottom jaw probably being trampled by four-year-olds, my sister picked up the slack and said, with as much restraint as possible, “This is my sister.”

And then the lady gasped in horror and apologized profusely. HA, no. She had apparently already boarded the conversational “this lady is obviously the grandma” train and just kept chugging along, admittedly with a weary “why am I still talking” expression on her face. She continued, “Well I can see which side of the family you [my sister] get your looks from.”

Nope, sorry, we draw our “looks” from the exact same genetic pool. Try again.

Ladies and gentlemen, if this were the end of the story, I may not have even written about it. It makes me uncomfortable, as a lazy vain person, that I worry about things like this. I am indeed reaching the age where we as women start to try and turn back or freeze the hands of time, so to be told that my clock is a valuable antique is a little disconcerting. If it was just this one lady, who I think is in her twenties, I could chalk it up to a crazy misunderstanding – that maybe she asked before she got a good look at me – and let it slide (much like the skin sliding off my brittle old bones). But, sadly, that is not what happened.

A few minutes later, my niece’s other teacher, a much older lady, came up, extended her hand and said, “Are you the grandma?”

This time, I was ready! I extended my hand and with brow furrowed, released a sad, confused, “Noooooooo.”

This lady was so embarrassed and appalled at her assumption, she said she was so sorry and told me OF COURSE I didn’t look like a grandmother. HAHAHA, you guys are so gullible. No, she then told me reassuringly that SHE is a grandma, and then started listing the ages of her grandchildren.

Really, lady who is clearly at least twenty years older than me, you’re a grandma? WELL THEN EVERYTHING IS FINE!

I understand that it’s a nightmare come true to assume someone is “the” grandma  and find out they are not. Much like I’m sure it’s embarrassing to ask someone when they’re due and they’re not pregnant. I have done neither of these things but I have once mistaken a boy child for a girl child and I felt like a steaming pile of shit for doing so. I didn’t have a loud, more-attention-brought-to-the-situation meltdown apology, but I did apologize, because I was in the wrong, and it’s just kind of good to acknowledge so that it doesn’t seem like the other person is to blame. What I’m saying is I don’t want to feel like an old hag at thirty-five so one of you being slightly mortified would have made me feel a little better. To me, continuing a conversation as if nothing happened tells me that OF COURSE I was mistaken for a grandma, and have you tried the cupcakes?

Maybe it IS me. Maybe at thirty-five it’s time to admit that even though I would have given birth to my sister at age four (thus being pregnant through most of my third year), I do indeed look as old as my own mother (who looks great, by the way). Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, I don’t know. I’ll leave it up to you all. Here’s a picture from the day I attended the recital, what do you think?

Maggie Smith

A Trip to the State Fair, Part Two: The World’s Blankiest Blank

At our state fair, you can find more blankiest blanks than you could ever dream. The World’s Biggest Horse, The World’s Smallest Horse, The World’s Smallest Woman, etc. They used to have a Giant Rat years ago, and when you wandered any where near this exhibit you could hear, over and over, loud enough to soar over all the other noise – “GIANT RAT! GIANT RAT!” The rat must have died because I didn’t see him this year (and by “see him” I mean see the structure that houses him, I would never pay to see a giant rat).

Two things I noticed at these exhibits – first of all, the descriptor “educational” for the World’s Smallest Woman:

“So you see boys and girls, if you are born below average size, you too can travel the country being displayed as a novelty for profit!” I’m assuming that is the educational aspect of it as I don’t think any kind of lengthy lecture on genetics is in the cards (they look so huge when she holds them!).

Second, the reassurance that all of these things are alive.

Yeah, of course they’re alive. If they weren’t they would have been deep fried and sold as a snack.

But, I have to say, as far as side shows go – I got to see one for free! You see, I went to the bathroom. Wait, tangent:

All the bathrooms had attendants – why? Because State Fair attendees are the filthiest people on earth and cannot be trusted not to turn every inch of surface into a toilet, that’s why. These attendants all had tip jars everywhere in these bathrooms. Some even had signs on the mirrors – “Imagine how bad this bathroom would be without an attendant.” While I appreciated that there were attendants, I wasn’t planning on tipping any. One was sitting on a stool (a sitting stool, not, you know…), eating a bowl of soup, saying “welcome” with her mouth full, for example. No, I do not tip for having to watch someone eat food in a public restroom.

However, I entered one bathroom, found an empty stall, and as I was closing the door a desperate cry rang out: “DON’T LET HER GO IN THERE, SHE’S GONNA GET PEE ON HER!” That fucking hero got a damn tip.

End tangent.

At a different bathroom, as I exited, this caught my eye:

Either this lady was taking a nap, or she was being punished by the Blair Witch. I don’t think she was a bathroom attendant, I’m pretty sure she was a fair visitor. I can only assume that eventually, someone built an exhibit around her and now she’s a fair side-show.

A Trip to the State Fair, Part One

Ten years ago Tom and I moved to the Atlanta area. For ten years, I’ve missed out on the North Carolina State Fair.

While I realize that since the state fair is comprised of traveling rides and food carts, my state’s state fair is probably not much different from any other state fair. But, I like to pretend it’s special, and, really, since every single thing is in the exact same place every single year – it is kind of unique in that way (meaning that say the South Carolina state fair probably puts the Worlds Smallest Horse in a different same place every year than North Carolina). That’s one thing I love about it – it doesn’t really change, although I would say this year there were less peanut shells all over the ground, just an observation.

After finally making it back to North Carolina, one of the things I was really looking forward to was getting to go to the State Fair again.

We (Tom, my sister, and I) went on a Wednesday afternoon, which meant a light crowd, which is good – less second hand smoke and faster access to fried foods. We arrived hungry, because as we all know, it is important to save as much room as possible for the delicious treats. But, we’re health-conscious folks, so luckily, we found some healthy fare:

This was called a “bucket” of fried veggies, which I find misleading. I would think a bucket would be at least the size of a standard beach sand pail. That’s not so say that we should have or want an entire sand pail of fried foods (lie), but if you’re going to sell a bucket of something fried – by god, it should be a bucket. I’m pretty sure that’s in the constitution.

But we didn’t let this get us down – we persevered – it’s amazing how brave humans can be in the face of inaccurate bucket descriptions. We plowed on! We moved forward! Tom and Mandy shared some sweet potato fries and I had an ear of roasted corn that was dipped in a vat of butter substance. I know, it’s inspiring.

One thing my sister likes to do every year is go and see the professional cakes from the cake decorating competition. As we made our way through the building, we found winning deserts in the non-cake category:

This is just cruel. “Oh, look! These treats were so delicious, they won ribbons and everything! You can’t have any!”

After sighing and fogging up the glass wishing I could taste what at that point was probably stale, brick-hard cookies, I noticed my sister standing in a long line.

I thought, “ooh, maybe they’re passing out samples of winning deliciousness,” so I went over and asked her why she was in line.

She was in line to LOOK at the winning cakes. I wish I had gotten a picture of it. The line was probably 20-25 people long. It was the only line we stood in the whole day. I tweeted about the absurdity of waiting in a long line to simple see a cake, not eat one. I had several responses that pretty much said “why in the hell would you do that?” I don’t know, other than because my sister wanted to stand in line to see cakes, that meant we had to wait for her to see the cakes, so we might as well wait in line, too.

The cakes were alright, I guess. My two favorites were the headless horseman and Alice in Wonderland cakes:

My first thought was, “I want that headless horseman cake served at my funeral.” Immediately after that was, “I want some cake.”

And you know what? The fair doesn’t sell slices of cake! Maybe some cupcakes, but not actual slices of a whole cake. And that, that just really gets to me. As much as I love the fair, there are elements that reflect the crushing disappointment that life can be.

Sometimes a bucket full of fried goods isn’t actually a bucket, and sometimes you have to wait in line for cake and not actually have any cake. But what do you do? You pick up the pieces, and then fry them, sprinkle them with powdered sugar, and you eat that shit. That’s what you do.

Stay tuned for my next installment of “A Trip to the State Fair,” which will pretty much just be more musings about fried foods.

They are not friends, stupid shirt.

I was in a thrift store the other day looking through the t-shirts, and this one caught my eye:

What in the hell is this? Tom and Jerry best friends forever? Excuse me? Surrounded by hearts and flowers with loving smiles on their faces? Unless this shirt is from some alternate dimension (in which case I should have bought it as it might be worth something), the people that came up with this shirt either don’t know who Tom and Jerry are or they expect the young demographic to not know. Boys and girls and/or t-shirt makers: Tom the cat has been trying to kill and eat Jerry the mouse since 1940. Sure, sometimes they may reluctantly, temporarily set their differences aside to foil a dog here and there, but that doesn’t make them best friends by any stretch of the imagination. THEY DELIGHT IN CAUSING THE OTHER HARM. Delight, I tell you!

But, you know what? Maybe, for the sake of a buck, I’m willing to ignore narrative, character, and nature and embrace this foolishness. These are obviously rough drafts, they’ll need to be cleaned up by someone more talented than me, but I think the idea is there. I want my damn millions:

Just like Tom and Jerry, but in real life! I bet these two are both running to help a third friend, maybe a hippopotamus.

Actually, this isn’t far from the truth. The Walking Dead? More like The Walking FRIENDS!

Luke Skywalker and The Emperor in Star Wars were the Marty McFly and Doc Brown of space.

Buffalo Bill and Catherine Martin were total besties! BB helped Catherine with her beauty regime (lotion) and organization of beauty products (keep lotion in a basket so you always know where it is)!

The Wizard of Oz was full of friendship. But you can also make a t-shirt out of this stuff.