After an evening full of ridiculous laughter (so much that my cheeks hurt and that I’m pretty sure I burned off all those calories from the honey brick toast dessert) with good food and good company, I was at Tiffany’s house when I received a text from my housemate a little after midnight that construction was going on in my apartment complex parking lot and that I’d have to park at the adjacent church rear lot. It didn’t help that Tiffany and I had just read about 1988 Junko Furuta’s gruesome torture and murder story (WARNING: don’t read about it if you have a queasy stomach) and were talking about serial killers.
"Fuck. The church parking lot is so far away from my apartment. The lots don’t even connect. I’ll have to walk through the church lot, walk by the main street, then walk through the complex. It’s like almost a mile of walking. By myself. This late at night." To be honest, I was more averse to the walk due to sheer laziness rather than regard for safety.
"Take this," Tiffany said, handing me a metal rod, about 2ft long. "Just in case of anything. Plus, you’ll feel so much safer with it. Trust."
We ended up talking for an additional hour and a half.
Finally, around 2AM, I headed home. I parked in the church lot and surveyed the area. The parking lot is separated from the apartment complex by a row of bushes and a cement wall. I figured that if I could bypass the bushes and scale the wall, I could leap over to the other side without having to walk long distance carrying a metal rod. Call it a shortcut, if you like. Besides, it was late and dark, and the chances of anyone seeing me would be slim, despite how shady it would look.
I walked the length of the parking lot, determining where the the wall was the lowest. I finally located it — about a 4ft height, and noticed that there was a 1.5ft clearing underneath the bushes. “Screw it,” I told myself, stuffed my phone, wallet, and keys into my denim shorts pocket, clutched the metal rod, and ducked underneath the bushes, hoping for no cobwebs and flesh-eating bugs and ignoring the twigs and leaves grazing my hair.
I emerged on the other side of the bushes and found myself facing the cement wall. It was too high for me to push myself up using my arm muscles (not that I have any), so I did the next best thing. I swung one leg high up, hooked it over the wall, and hoisted myself, grimacing in pain as I felt the rough cement surface scrape against my thigh (damn those denim shorts), and ending up in sitting position facing the apartment complex, surveying the area in front of me.
To my horror, I realized the drop down was greater than I had anticipated. From the church side, the wall is only about 4ft. But from the complex side, the length from the top of the wall (where I was perching) to the ground is a little more than 6 ft.
"No sacrifice, no victory," I told myself, echoing my tattoo. I knew if I landed off balance, I’d end up with a painfully rolled ankle and perhaps injured knees, but what the hell. Where’s the fun in life if you never take risks? I jumped and stuck the landing, still tightly clutching the metal rod in one hand. Then I ran, getting slightly lost a couple times before I finally arrived safely at my doorstep.
As my tweet last night said, “Epic night. With an epic story. And an epic skin injury.”
You just had to be there. But it certainly makes for a great story.
And then, this morning, I noticed that the construction team had finished setting the new asphalt in the complex parking lot, and I came up with the notion of etching my initials into the wet asphalt. My other housemate found a strong stick, and I took up lookout duty while she scratched in her initials onto the ground, and she then did the same for me. Once we were done, we ran home like delinquent teenagers up to no good.
Our names are forever in the ground…. until the complex re-asphalts again, that is.
I’m sad to say my penmanship isn’t very good when I’m writing on the ground with a stick.
Oh, and I just have to add one more thing — it’s beyond awesome knowing that you have friends who care for your safety. Thank you, Tiffany!
That, my friends, is why I always try to avoid a certain thing while driving. Can you guess it?
I bet you guessed texting. Or changing the radio station. Or picking up a phone call. Or, if your mind is hopelessly forever stuck in the gutter, something dirty. But nope, it’s actually sneezing!
Especially since I usually sneeze in a set of 7 consecutive ones.
And it’s not like you can sneeze with your eyes open. Believe me, I’ve tried it. Multiple times. It wasn’t very dainty. Or successful. Actually, I think it’s only possible in that one Calvin & Hobbes strip I read.
Your life can change in the blink of an eye. I’m sure we’ve all heard of that phrase before— well, those of us who aren’t dwelling beneath a dirty pond, that is. And with my over-imaginative brain, who knows what can happen during that 1-second it takes to sneeze (or in my case, 7 seconds)? Drive safely, people. And hold in the sneezes.
You don’t deserve to drive nice cars. Because you people hold attributes that resemble those of a primitive race, you deserve to drive ugly, rattling metal boxes. Besides, your driving behavior makes it look as if you’re just begging on your knees to have another car crash full on into you. Maybe you think it makes you look badass? Let me break it to you, honey. It actually makes you look like you’re a mentally ill person that the doctor accidentally released from the asylum. Unless that equates to awesomeness in your poor, deranged world, I don’t think that’s the look you’re aiming for. You may be laughing now when you’re cutting people off left and right, almost running the old lady in the corner over, and going 50 in a 35 zone with that loud, obnoxious exhaust of yours that you’ve added on to your Honda, but you’ll be the brunt of the jokes when you’re rewarded with a ticket, slapped with the shame of hitting a body, or landed in the hospital when your car gets totaled. But hey, maybe it’s just me who’s not turned on by your reckless and supercilious driving. Who knows, right? It’s a crazy world, anyhow.
What was that? Oh, yes, I am aware that I already tweeted about this. But I figure you love and crave audience attention, so I’m dedicating a tumblr text post to you too.
Have a great day!
"What are you doing?" my sister shoots me a quizzical look as she walks into the room.
I can’t blame her. I would be looking quizzically at myself too. I’m sprawled on the ground, doing breathing exercises, while balancing my 10 year old Maltese on my stomach.
"I’m in pain. And a website said if you have a small dog, put the dog on your abdomen to relieve the cramps."
"Oh." She takes a seat next to me and watches as I continue my routine. "You know, a PE teacher in high school said moving around helps the pain go away too, you know. Let’s go walk the dog instead."
"No. Just let me lie here and wither away until all the blood drains out of me." I mumble.
"You’re ridiculous. Let’s go to the library." She rolls her eyes.
"Mrrfff." At this point, I’m in too much pain and much too lazy to formulate an actual word, not to mention a sentence.
"Well, how about shoe shopping? I need flats." She looks at me expectantly.
I count to five alligators, then sit up, causing the dog to slide off. “Fine. Let’s go.”
My sister starts laughing.
"What?" I mutter as I fix my hair.
"That was way too easy."
Before she left the house, my mother had told me to wash the defrosted fish and throw it in the soup inside the steamer.
That doesn’t sound too bad. At least it’s cut up into pieces. It’ll be slimy, but it’ll be just like handling a sea slug. Not that I ever touched a sea slug before.
I walk towards the plastic bag sitting in the sink and eye it suspiciously, trying not to squirm too much.
OK. Time to get moving. I’m no wimp. In fact, in some of my daydreams, I picture myself like Nikita. All ballsy. Nikita wouldn’t get all squeamish about a fish. A cut up dead fish, at that.
I untie the bag and pour the contents out into the plastic container filled with clean water. Turning the faucet on, I reach for the first thing that comes out, and..
Oh my god. Is that a…
“OH SHIT!” I scream, throwing the fish head down and away from me, then immediately start hyperventilating and shuddering violently. There’s something about dead fish (and decapitated animal heads) that just scare the hell out of me. And I’ve never been a fan of fish. Except for sashimi. But you never see the head when eating sashimi anyways. Sashimi slices don’t even look like fish! They’re so colorful and pretty.
I scrub my hands clean with SoftSoap and speed dial my mom. I have to hang up and try again a couple times until I manage to say something that actually resembles an actual word.
“I can’t do it. There’s a head in there,” I wail.
“What are you talking about? It’s just a fish. I expect to see the soup with the fish ready by the time I get home.”
“Noooo I can’t. I’m serious. I really can’t do this. I…” I stop mid-sentence as I realize she coldheartedly hung up on me.
Damn. Now what the hell do I do?
Sudoku is supposed to help the brain. But it’s killing my brain cells.
Oh god. This reminds me so much of those times last quarter when I attempted to do my math homework. And took my math exams.
And then, this opens up my angry mutterings of how useless math is. I mean, I can function beautifully without finding the integral or limit of anything. Besides, the only mathematical knowledge you really need in life is to know how to add and subtract (and maybe take a percent off a number, for shopping purposes). Why would I need to know how to find an angle, or the sum of Reimann squares or whatever the hell they’re called, unless I was building my own house or if I wanted to be a true (and weird) math genius? I make fun of those people, for cryin’ out loud. Why would I want to be one?
True, my sister did always say sudoku (and any sort of constant practice in math) stimulates brain cells and minimizes the chance I’ll develop Alzheimer’s Disease or anything like that, but I’ve got books for that. I consider myself more of a…literary person, anyhow.
Anyways, so let’s see. There’s a 5. And a 7. And there’s a 9 in that row. Maybe a 2 goes here? Wait no, there’s a 2 in that row too. How about a 1?
Oh fuck knows.
Oh my god.
Why won’t she stop?
Oh my god.
This lady in the lobby has been upchucking into a little pink bin for the past twenty minutes while her humongous Hispanic family (there are about twenty of them!) hovers around her. She won’t even go down to the ER because apparently, she doesn’t want to wait. Instead, she’d rather sit up here in the nice hospital lobby and publicly display her stomach contents to the rest of the world.
I can’t be around barfing people. I just can’t. Because… well, who could?
But unfortunately, I’m trapped here in my stupid info desk chair. I can only try to block out the retching noises, which is really starting to gross me out.
It’s disgusting having to listen to someone barf their intestines out.
“Um, is everything okay? Does she need to go down to the emergency room?”
I look up quickly and see a hospital staff walking towards the family, looking slightly nauseous. Who can blame her?
One of the family members tells the nurse the same story I was given.
“It might be food poisoning. She doesn’t want to go into the emergency room though,” the lady explains, looking as though this happens every day.
“Well, if it’s food poisoning, she should really go get checked out by the doctors,” the nurse responds, looking slightly alarmed.
The lady makes a noncommittal noise and turns away, leaving the nurse standing there with a bemused look on her face. Finally, she exchanges glances with me, shrugs, and leaves.
At this point, I just want to scream, “GO TO THE BLOODY EMERGENCY ROOM! NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR YOU RETCHING ALL OVER THE PLACE!”
Honestly, what kind of sane person would rather sit in the lobby than go to the ER?
I can’t block out the noises by concentrating on my math homework. In fact, I can’t even concentrate anymore. I’m going to try brainstorming for my essay on law instead.
“Describe a role model in the legal profession that you admire and explain how that person has inspired you to pursue a career in the law.”
Huh? I don’t bloody know anyone in the legal profession. Can I put Elle Woods from Legally Blonde? Oh my god, there goes some major retching.
“Explain how your experiences will contribute to your pursuit of a career in the law.”
What experiences? I don’t have any legal experiences, unless you count that one time I lied about eating the cheesecake and…never mind. That wasn’t even illegal or anything. Oh my god, that sounded nasty. Did she just barf up something solid? That was definitely a clunking noise, not a slopping noise.
Oh sod it. It’s no good. I’m not impervious to retching sounds.
Oh look, she’s leaving. I wonder where she’s going? No matter. I’m glad she’s gone. She better not come back in again.
I am seriously THISclosetoturningintoapuddleofpuke. No joke.
It’s Monday afternoon, which means I’m spending two hours volunteering at the hospital. I settle comfortably in my high swivel chair behind the information/front desk, smiling pleasantly at the hospital visitors. I click eagerly onto the Mozilla Firefox icon and wait expectantly for the home-screen to pop up, but when it does, my smile freezes and I feel like I’m doused with ice water.
ENTER USERNAME AND PASSWORD.
What? I’ve never had to enter a username and password before! What’s going on? Has someone tampered with the system? Thinking the system just has a minor glitch, I exit the browser, count to ten, and try again.
ENTER USERNAME AND PASSWORD.
Fine. Be that way. I punch in the login codes I use to log into the hospital patient directory system.
ACCESS DENIED. YOUR CREDENTIALS COULD NOT BE AUTHENTICATED.
Bugger. Breathe. Calm down, Josephine. I suck in air and blow it out again, then try one other set of username/password that I know.
ACCESS DENIED. YOUR CREDENTIALS COULD NOT BE AUTHENTICATED.
Are you kidding me?! I give up two bloody hours each week to volunteer, without pay, at this bloody hospital, and now I’m bloody locked out of the sodding Internet! What has the world come to?!
Oh wait. There’s the Internet Explorer icon! Holding my breath, I click on it, not really expecting anything good to happen.
WINDOWS CANNOT ACCESS THE SPECIFIED DEVICE, PATH, OR FILE. YOU MAY NOT HAVE THE PROPER AUTHORIZATION TO ACCESS.
Shit. I know I already expected this, but shit. I’m blocked from using the Internet for two whole hours with nothing else to do but boo-boo government note-taking! I would use my cellphone for Internet access, but my phone is not one of those fancy iPhone/iTouch/iWhatevers, and I actually get charged to go on the Internet with my lousy phone plan! Plus, I don’t even have signal service in here. Blast this! I honestly don’t understand how peopel can still walk in front of me smiling like nothing’s happening. Don’t these people realize how much I need the Internet?!?
Okay. Maybe I don’t need the Internet, but I was really planning to check my 3 email accounts, go on justjared and cafepress, and whatever else. Nothing harmless. Nothing bad enough to cause the admins to set a password prompt. Aha! I bet it was one of those idiot volunteers in the backroom logging onto some virus-infected porno video site or something. God, this is awful.
“Payrolls and pensions for more than 7 million persons who work for the Pentagon, serve in the reserves, or receive military retirement pay, veterans pensions, or disability compensation constitute a large component of the defense budget.”
What are my chances of landing a role in a Taiwan drama? That would be so cool if I got to work with Chun.
”So do the research, development, and procurement of military hardware. The costs of procurement are high, even though total military expenditures have declined as a percentage of American GDP since the end of World War II.”
Oh look, that woman is a midget! Wait, that’s not very nice. Maybe she has some illness. Oh no, now I feel horrible. Should I start a conversation with her? No, I have to keep my mouth shut, or else she’ll think I’m some cracked up wino.
“The cost of advanced technology makes any weapon, fighter plane, or component more expensive than its predecessors. Moreover, cost overruns are common. The American fleet of Stealth Bombers cost several times the original estimate— over $2 billion each.”
Wow, I would love to have $2 billion in my account. Maybe then, I can finally buy some of those Hugo Boss suits I saw in the ads… but I can’t possibly wear business suits to school. I wonder how I would do piloting a Stealth Bomber?
“The biggest slice of budget pie, once reserved for defense, now belongs to income security expenditures, a bundle of policies extending direct and indirect aid to the elderly, the poor, and the needy.”
Mmmm. Pie. I want some apple pie now. Or maybe lemon meringue. Do they serve those in the cafeteria here?
With my peripheral vision, I sense visitors approaching the desk. I look up from my government textbook, and my heart skips two beats. In front of me (with his mum) is one of the cutest guys I’ve ever seen in my life. He seems to be around the same age as I am and is looking just fab in a while polo and smart black front pants (maybe he goes to a private school). Oh god, I look like such a dork sitting here in my baggy blue and white hospital uniform. Bugger, I feel like I’m sitting on a pile of ashes.
I obviously can’t pull any moves with his mum standing there, so I choose instead to ignore him while his mum speaks to me.
Oh sod it, I can’t do this. I quickly steal a glance at him while I explain, in my most charming voice as if I had just graduated from Charm School, that the patient they are seeking is not at this hospital, and oh my god, I just want to melt.
Pathetic, I know. But he really is super-cute. Really.
As they leave, I can’t help but stare at his back until they are out of sight.
Oh hey. There’s someone here with the surname Bond! I wonder if this person is related to Bond, James Bond.
Darn. I have no idea what that cute guy’s name is, but I’m pretty sure I’m smitten.
Never mind. I already forgot how he looks like. But he seriously is so good-looking. That’s all I remember. That and his white polo.
“In 1940, the entire Social Security system was financed with a 3 percent tax on payrolls; by 1990, the tax exceeded 15 percent. In 1945, 50 workers paid taxes to support each Social Security beneficiary. In 1990, about three workers supported each beneficiary. By the year 2025, when people born in the late 1950s will be getting their Social Security checks, only two workers will be supporting each beneficiary.”
2025… wow, I will be old. I wonder what’s for dinner?
Joselyn comes over and sits next to me, flipping through my University of California catalogue. I look over, and she is jotting down some useful information about the different UC schools.
She is about halfway through the catalogue when she flicks to the UC Davis page and skims through the list of majors. Then, out of the blue—
“Hey, UC Davis offers agriculture as a major!” she exclaims enthusiastically.
“Ugh, why? Why would anyone study agriculture?” I ask, not really caring.
“Well, why wouldn’t they?” she counters.
“Don’t people study agriculture so that they can become farmers and live on a farm?”
I look up to find her staring bewilderedly at me.
“Um, do you even know what agriculture as a major is?”
“Of course. People go and learn about how to clean up after pigs and cows and plant the little rows of corn, potatoes, tomatoes, whatever,” I explain confidently, as if to a three-year-old kid. “Oh, and I guess they learn about how to sell their veggies too at the Farmers Market.”
I am so surprised at her inability to grasp such an easy concept that I look at her straight in the eye and flash her a toothy smile.
“What are you talking about? Agriculture deals with animal science, business, and stuff like that. You can even become a vet by majoring in agriculture!” she answers incredulously. “It’s not as basic as you think!” she laughs.
Oh… right. Of course. That’s awkward.
I will never try to act smart again.
My supervisor hands me an API Community Directory. I take it and look questioningly up at him.
“I want you to go through this book and pick out the organizations that have headquarters in our district. Then, input all the data into the database. And don’t forget to google the organizations to find out the coordinators, executives, presidents, etc and their contact information,” he says.
“Wait, so just to clarify, I’m to go page by page in this book, find the organizations, and search for their people and contact info on the web?” I ask, hoping I misunderstood the assignment.
“That’s right!” he answers cheerfully.
I look at him stupidly for three seconds, my mouth formed in the shape of a perfect O. I’m guessing that there are about 400 pages in this book. This is going to take forever to complete. I can’t tell him this is the worst idea I have ever heard of, so I smile and say, “Great!”
“Good. I’ll let you get started then!” He leaves, leaving me sitting there wondering about my good luck. An hour and a half later, I’m only on page 95. On the other hand, with this project, this means I’ll have something to work on and keep me busy throughout the day. And it’ll prolong me from getting handed more difficult projects.
No sense rushing these things.
OK don’t look. Whatever you do, don’t look at it. No one will know if you don’t look at it.
But then, maybe I should tell him.
Wait, no! I can’t tell him! If I tell him, everyone will notice.
And plus, he’ll find it weird that I’m looking in that area in the first place! In what other job is it alright to gawk at your supervisor’s um, you know, area?
Only one other occupation springs immediately to mind, which isn’t that encouraging.
But I swear I wasn’t eyeballing that area on purpose. He talks with his hands. He’s sitting in his chair. His hands are are at lap-level. Naturally, your eyes would be drawn to his hands, which are in that area.
Never mind. I definitely cannot tell him his fly is open. He can figure that out on his own eventually.
But my insides are squirming with embarrassment for him already.
Damn it. I need to tell him. I would want people to spare me the embarrassment of walking around with my fly open, wouldn’t I?
“Sir,” I begin, interrupting him mid-speech.
“Yes?” he looks inquiringly at me, probably wondering what’s so important that I cut off his precious talking time. God knows he loves to talk. Nonstop.
“Your…um, you..uhh, your…ahh…meeting today is at the restaurant next door. Don’t forget!” I squeak.
“Oh. Thanks Josephine. I’ll definitely remember that now!” he laughs, then continues to plow on with his earlier monologue.
Maybe if I stare at that space between his eyebrows, I’ll forget about his open fly. Yup, that’s it. I got this. Now I just have to focus, stare, and try not to laugh. Or pass out.