Monthly Archives: March 2012

Can’t I just pee?

It’s been a spell since I’ve written. My apologies. I quit my job last Thursday so I’ve been on the hunt again. I’ve already been lucky enough to have one interview to work at a pet supply store.

In the interview, my least favorite question came up: How much would you like to make? Ugh. I hate that question because what do they expect me to say? Obviously I would like to make more than minimum wage. I would like to make 100,000 dollars an hour with sick days paid as double overtime. So I look the store manager in the eye and tell him “Whatever you make should work for me.” Luckily, he laughed and told me that he usually starts people out at $8.50 with built in opportunities for pay raise. Eh, ok.

But then he got to a question I liked even less: Will I submit to a drug test? Urinalysis- oh no no. It’s a hair follicle sample they need. Oy vey. Now, I’m not Courtney Love, but any tests involving samples from my body always make me nervous. But I said yes and he seemed very happy. The drug tests aren’t his protocol, but corporate’s, he said. He gave me a packet and circled an address for me to head off to and that was the end of the interview.

So I’m feeling pretty good that the interview went well. But I’ve just got this drug test to get through. I arrive at the place I was told to go. 8762 E is a sketchy office space on the second floor of a building whose entryway is in an alley. Lovely. I go upstairs and the place doesn’t even look like any sort of legitimate testing center. It’s just an empty room with books and boxes all over the place. A fly keeps banging against the window, desperate and buzzy as if suicide is his only chance at leaving this abysmal place. I’m about to turn around and leave, but a large man pops up from behind one of the piles of boxes. He doesn’t even say hello, just looks at me for an explanation. “I’m here to get a drug test, for a potential employer?”

“Ok. Follow me.” His African accent, one I usually enjoy, does nothing to soften his general harshness. He leads me into a second room, cluttered and stuffy like the first. He takes out this decrepit looking yellow box filled with an asortment of metal hair clips and one devious looking pair of scissors. He uncaps a bottle of  rubbing alcohol and poors a bit onto a paper towel, which he haphazardly cleans the scissor blades and hair clips with. I keep hearing the fly banging on the wall, and I’m wondering if maybe he has the right idea. As I’m watching the man clean the blades, it occurs to me that this guy seems kind of like a serial killer and I’m thinking maybe I should run. But no, I need a damn job. It’s Saturday and no other testing centers will be open until Monday so I’ve got to do this. If they find my body here, stabbed to death by hair clips, at least they’ll know I tried.

“So what exactly does this test for?” I ask the guy, just to pierce the silence.

“Drugs,” he says. No kidding?!

I give up talking and instead look over at the sheet he is reading: directions for how to administer this test. Great, he’s apparently never done this before. The diagram shows a picture of a girl. A large chunk of her hair is missing. She and her drug test administrator are smiling in good spirits, but my eyes keep going back to the large chunk. It’s like the width of my fattest finger. Are they serious? My hair is already short. It’s been through hell in back in my lifetime: failed dye jobs, chemical burns, accidental mullets. Now I am expected to let this random dude have at it with a pair of dirty shears? For a moment I wonder if maybe I can speed dial my stylist. Maybe he can do it? But I snap myself out of it and remind myself I’ve got to man up if I ever want to get to Australia. I need this job.

So the man (whose name I still don’t know) comes around to stand behind my chair. It’s super awkward as he monkeys through my hair, looking for a place to administer the chop. Finally he starts. But instead of just cutting it feels like he’s scraping or something, and it takes him forever just to get one bit out. He does this two more times in different sections of my hair. I breathe deeply, resisting the urge to run, and finally he tells me it’s done. He fiddles with the sections of my hair, folding them up into a metal cylinder, and asks me to sign a few papers. I leave the building feeling incredibly violated, and wondering if I’m bald.

Alas, I survived my first drug test. Now just tune in for the results episode.

The Visa and the Beast

Travel Update:

So I have officially sold my Coachella 2012 pass. I passed it on to a really nice girl named Kat who almost cried when she got it. I used the money back to pay for my visa to Australia– which has been approved!! Suddenly things feel much more real. Passport – check. Visa – check. I can’t imagine how “real” things are going to feel when I buy my plane ticket! My tummy hurts in an excited sort of way :}.

Additionally I’ve got to figure out lodging for when I get to Sydney. That is a bit daunting. I’m already imagining my lovely hostel, crowded with drunken strangers from all over the world; making friends and simultaneously hoping none of them are thieves… But even more daunting is the task of deciding what I am going to do with my hair. I want to be able to jump into the ocean with no reservations, but that is a bit difficult when water turns my hair into a giant frizzball that takes 3 hours and loads of equipment to restyle. Ladies and gentlemen I present to you: My Afro

Yes, that really is me. Many many years ago, of course. My hair is significantly shorter now but nonetheless it can still be rather beastly. People tell me all the time that I should go natural and rock an afro. I think afros are beautiful on many women but my usual response is “Would you want that much hair on your head on a hot day?” Also, afros require care and styling as well. I prefer it short and sleek as I have it now.

Anyways I am getting a haircut today so I’ll ask my guy what he thinks. I refuse to get braids. I fear the answer may be wigs…

A More Glorious Dawn Awaits…

I keep this video in my bookmarks tab. Sometimes it is just what I need to humble myself. The ability to be humble is a natural pick me up. Plus Carl Sagan was such a magnificent human being. A true BAMF in my book.

“Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar”, every “supreme leader”, every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

-Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)

The Great Bacon Incident: Why I Will Never Eat Meat Again

So this year it’ll have been nine years since I last ate meat voluntarily. Vegetarianism is way more common these days, but nonetheless when I meet people I am still often asked the question when and why did I decide to become a vegetarian. This is where it gets awkward– explaining to people the real reason why I stopped eating meat. Sometimes I say “for health reason” or “the texture” but statements like that are simply a cover-up. For one thing it’s hard for me to tell the real story because it most often comes up when people are eating (that’s usually when they notice I’m a vegetarian). But sometimes people get just a little too pushy, and I have to tell them the truth. I’ll tell you now, and this way you’ll never have to ask again, and likely you’ll never forget.

Well, we already know that I hate fish– so giving that up was no problem. I’d always disliked eating things like shrimp or clams anyway because clams are creepy and with shrimp I’d always imagine that I was eating a colony– a whole little family of shrimp wiped out in one breaded and fried bite. Eventually though, this feeling started to affect me while eating meat too. I saw an episode of The Simpsons that had a particularly poignant effect on me– a little lamb told Lisa that she was “tearing him apart.” That little lamb became a frequent meal-time visitor.

But really, it was the stomach problems that got me. It seemed like every other week I was getting food poisoning from eating meat. My whole family would have the same dinner or my brothers and I would eat the same gas-station hot dogs, and somehow only I’d end up sick. Then one day I was out shopping with my mom. Of course, being the rotund child that I was, I was not going to leave the mall with out a slice of pizza. So there it was, glistening with grease under the golden light of the heat lamp at Sbarro’s. I bought a slice of that pizza and I gobbled it up.

But several hours later, something was wrong. Very wrong.

My stomach was gurgling. I felt naucious. I’d never experienced any feeling like it before. At that time, I hadn’t even heard of food poisoning before. I’d heard of a guy named Montezuma, but he lived in Mexico, far away from me. Then it happened. Just as I thought I was about to vomit everything up, I shit my pants. Right there in the living room, curled up in fetal position on the floor far from any bathroom, I shit myself. I was alone, but it was a shame like no other. I just sat there for a moment, waiting, praying for Jesus Christ to come out of the dark and shoot me execution style, because no one should have to go on after an experience like this. But I did. I was sick for two more days, but eventually life returned to normal, and until now, no one knew about the incident except for my mom and myself.

But that wasn’t when I stopped eating meat. Just a foreshadowing. The day I stopped eating meat was several years later. I believe it was a Tuesday…

You see, every morning my lovely grandmother would prepare my brother, Randall, breakfast. I usually skipped breakfast or ate something light like cereal, but Randall enjoyed the full course ensemble when it came to breakfast foods– eggs, bacon, toast, juice. Let me just say, my grandmother was not known for her cooking skills. She was generous with her knowledge of cooking– after all, she once taught a cooking class over at the Braille Institute– but she was in no way a good cook. Her signature meal was an egg covered in thick white paste served on a piece of toast– which she called “creamed eggs and biscuits.” So on this particular morning my grandmother was making bacon as usual, only something was off. The bacon itself was off. The kitchen was rancid with the stench of this expired bacon frying on high heat. The windows were closed and the smoke was thick. I looked around at my family sitting calmly in wait for their helpings. What was wrong with these people? Didn’t they realize that we needed to evacuate? I was suffocating.

I had no choice but to leave them behind. I ran. I ran out of the kitchen and into the laundry room. I stood there for a moment and then I vomited. I, a person who never vomited (only occasionaly shit my pants) did so for three minutes straight while my mother stood at the door of the laundry room in disbelief. I will still not go into any more detail, but it was bad. Like “Linda Blair ain’t got shit on me” bad. Luckily, I got to stay home from school that day, but after that I was scarred for life. I’d had it with shame-causing meat and literally could not bring myself to eat it again. I’d been lucky these two times– these events happened in the privacy of my own home, but I was not going spoil my odds.

Sometimes I regret not having had the chance to have a “last meal” or sorts. The final meat item I ate was they day before– some dry popcorn chicken from my school’s snackbar. At the same time, I don’t miss meat at all. One day I would probably like to try a lobster, with garlic and butter while shouting something like “Bib me up Scotty!” But that’ll probably be sometime when I’m old. And really, my being a vegetarian has been a good thing. I haven’t had food poisoning, I’m no longer the rotund child that I was, and reducing my carbon footprint is a plus.

So now you know. Don’t ask me again. Don’t tell me to just have a little bit, or that I’m being difficult, unless you are fully prepared to deal with the consequences. It’s not like smoking marijuana; it’s not going to be more fun because it’s with you.

I am a vegetarian and I’m proud. Now, let’s never mention this again.

Catch up time w/ Grimes

It’s been a long but interesting week. Earlier this morning I noticed that the tips of my hair are starting to turn blonde, which they haven’t done since I was a child. Hurrah for having a job where I stand outside a lot. I’m actually happy to see these little bits of sun-blonde return as they are kind of sexy. In addition to getting to be outside, I’m also enjoying how interactive my job is. On Thursday I was working in Culver City. I got a bunch of hugs from strangers and a bag of vegan chocolate chip cookies from this hari-krishna looking guy who thanked me for my work helping to protect the environment. I did get into one very heated conversation though, with a cynical man who claimed that the world is already completely doomed. He basically described the future to me as being some sort of zombie apocalypse wherein whoever has the most guns and water wins. I had to admit that his argument had merits, so we ended our conversation with an amicable handshake. Only, when he went to shake my hand he had trouble finding it and explained to me that he was largely blind. It took me about five minutes before I thought “wait, did this guy just say that he has 12 guns?” to which my brain then responded  with an I Love Lucy style “eeewhhhh.”

Somehow I don't think this is what he meant by The Apocalypse, but I can dream right?

Friday was an even more amusing time because I was out in West Hollywood. I got asked out on a total of 5 dates and was pretty much distracted the whole day by the flood of attractive people walking by me. My favorite, err most memorable three suitors included a handsome but greasy looking business man, a gangster wannabe, and a homeless man with no teeth. I only wish I had the confidence of these men when it came to asking out strangers that I’m potentially interested in. Right now I’m not particularly trying to date, but I am hereby giving myself this challenge: when I do decide to date, I am going to ask out three guys who at first glance I might feel are “out of my league” and see how it goes. I never really think about it like this, but dating, just like anything else, really is a numbers game at least when it comes to gathering the initial pool of contestants. Anyways, we’ll save this little idea for another time to come. Less flattering experiences on Friday included a gang of Italian men who decided to post up at my spot for five minutes shouting “Bella! Bella!” obnoxiously, and a man asking me several times if I was a “real woman” or “mostly a real woman.” Uh, how do you want me to answer this sir… and should I be offended??

Driving out to Malibu for work, beautiful rainclouds overhead.

On another note, I went to Amoeba recently and picked up a CD they were playing– “Visions” by Grimes. So far I’ve only listened to the CD once or twice in my car but I’m digging these chill sounds. I usually hate this sort of floaty music where I can’t understand the lyrics, but I find that Grimes’ version of ethereal has got an aggressive punch to it– and it works. Also this album has been great for reducing my L.A. road rage. Listening to The Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up” three times in a row while stuck on the 405 probably isn’t doing great things to my blood pressure. Good thing I now have an Rx for Grimes.

And in travel news, I recently received my passport in the mail. Other than the horrendous photo that will now be mine for the next ten years, I’m thrilled! Now if I meet a gorgeous, rich businessman who wants to fly me out Tokyo for the weekend I can actually go. Seriously, I was SO bummed the last three times this happened and I had to say no… Also, I plan on applying for my Australia visa tomorrow and possibly, if I’m ambitious, I’ll buy a plane ticket in the next few weeks. Right now I’ve just got to gather enough ambition to go make myself a cup of coffee. Nyx has doggie school in about an hour. We didn’t do our homework, woops. Wish us luck.