Slow walkers, horses, and autocorrect.

Slow walkers — I have an opinion

Ah, slow walkers. Those delightful time-wasters. Promoters of Lollygagging. Directors of Dawdling. Helping all of us to enjoy each footfall ever so much more because we get to take each step      that     much      slower          oh       for          the               love            of             all                               that                    is                  sane and good will you please put some habanero in that pace? I mean I just wrote a novel up here, established a new business then sold it, birthed and raised a litter of children, sent them through college, grad school, and I’m now in the nursing home watching their progeny debate over whether to call me Grandma, Meemaw, or Salty (GOOD GRIEF! Oh please, Salty, Salty, SALTY!!) and I’m getting a touch impatient with your inability to keep up with my seriously slowed-to-accommodate-you stride, my dearest walking buddy!

It’s hard to manage the concrete-booted when you’re in a crowded area. You have to constantly adjust your gait to avoid cuddling someone’s butt (never appropriate), giving someone a flat (never appreciated), or spending time in someone’s hair (never doubt this is possible). I love the squirrel types. [Ed. Note: Sarcasm, folks.] There’s no accommodating the erratic slow walkers. You just have to be prepared to react quickly. They’ll be leisurely meandering one way, lull you with some deceleration and, without any warning, turn back and walk into your face. There’s got to be management of paths, people. Ascertain whether you have freedom to move before, you know, plowing people down. I had one woman do this to me a week ago. I was all prepared to give her a look of scorn, but she walked into my face and kept on walking, arms pumping with real purpose and a blank stare on her face. So, I just removed my body from her cold embrace and walked in a new direction, as far from her as possible, completely puzzled. I pinched myself, because civility dictated that I not pinch her, to see if I was dreaming. I wasn’t. I did a pulse check to see if I was still alive. I was. Weird. I’ve seen kids move like that, but they have an ice cream cone in their hand, and we can all relate to that. It’s ICE CREAM!

I was talking to my brother about these soul-killers, and he has stories to tell as well. Like me, he’s interested in walking at a pace a touch faster than the 0 mph a slow walker aims to achieve. It probably explains why we do well when we go places together. We must have stride symmetry. I’m positive that’s a thing. Also, alliteration. As we were commiserating about the turtle people, he brought up the problem of having to determine where your speed-challenged companion is before you can make a turn. And we both immediately thought of horses. You know, with those crazy eyes? Horses must never have this problem. They’d totally know whether Lassitude on the Left is too close and they’ll have to signal before executing a louie. Which is why they’re so great in races. Dang. I see Loaded Leg$$$ is coming up on the left. UGH, look at that smirk! I can’t even with that. I can still win this if I ignore that ass. CURSE these creepy eyes freakishly placed on the side of my head like a Halloween nightmare that you don’t have to wait until Halloween to be spooked by! Wait, do they have those eye things (blinders, blinkers, or winkers) on during races? Google, help me. Wait, no. It’s a rabbit hole, I suspect. Got no time for that. This is a blog post and I need to knock these bad boys out fast to make the voices in my head shut up. [Ed. Note: Yes. I’m back. Just wanted to let you know she doesn’t really hear voices. Stand down.]

Autocorrect megalomania

What is up with autocorrect? My brother and I have both noticed a turn for the Pol Pot. OK. That’s my analogy, not his. I’m positive it’s offensive, so don’t blame him.

But he’s had his complaints about autocorrect. Witness:

“Sorry honking” is what I do for fun now. Actually, “Sorry, not sorry honking” is more accurate.

A post shared by Greg Garner (@mistergarner) on

And so do I. I’ve had issues with autocorrect for a long time. It’s a stealthy beast to be sure. Just making subtle little odd edits that I don’t notice and suddenly I just look like a total dumbass when I’m not even a dumbass at that moment in time. Witness:

Notice the subtle shift from VMFA to VFMA. That wasn’t what I typed. Really. Then the delightful shift from can to can’t. Stupid, autocorrect. Totally different meaning. I just updated to the new iOS. I’m not sure what’s going on with the latest aggressive stance my autocorrect has adopted with that release, but I’m not a fan. At. All. For example, autocorrect defaults to “Its” instead of “It’s” which is ridiculous because the second is the more common. It puts random spaces in words while I’m typing and automagically transforms them into two new words. Two new words that often make it past my quick text verification and get sent to people. People who are quite obviously confused. It’s maddening. I’ll have something all typed out with re-corrections to autocorrect’s unhelpful corrections made, and I’ll send it only to discover autocorrect has gone behind me again to thwart me, thereby making me look like a fool. Look, autocorrect, I need exactly zero help in that arena. I am a fool. I don’t need you assisting me in that endeavor to make me look like a double fool. I guess I could just turn it off. You people with your sensible suggestions. Le sigh…

The Cheeto’s identity crisis

Cheeto’s Puffs vs. Crunchy. Attention: Cheeto’s Puffs. Form a line and head to your destruction. Why even do you exist? You are nasty and must eradicate yourselves immediately. Go. Now. You heard me. Cheeto’s Crunchy? You may stay. Also, this cat clearly killed it in the screen test. You’re the best thing going, Lt. Paul Furman (AKA Lou).
[Ed. Note: Alternate spelling: Pawl]

The March of the Ants

Did you know that was the precursor to March of the Penguins? It just wasn’t as compelling so, you know, no green light for that script. Fine. I’m lying. I contend it was actually March of the Giant House Centipede, although the penguins would never have made it to the pitch room in that case. Why, you ask? Because the House Centipede is a creature built for nightmares, people. Those babies are really damn attention-grabbing and would make perfect villains for a horror film. I can tell you from experience because my heart rate still hasn’t returned to normal. From this morning. Which was many, many hours ago. Eeek!!! My skull resident just supplied me with another flashback of that giant fella strolling (strutting!) like he owned the place (which he very nearly did had my son not been home still). There is a pest body size at which any bug, upon gaining entrance into my home and appearing to be at or nearly of this obscene size, is awarded property ownership as far as I’m concerned. Do you want my domicile? You got it, Stanley. The dishwasher was just emptied so you can load it. Also, the clothes in the dryer need to be folded. Oh, also, Lexi (dog) needs to be fed. Wait, nevermind. I’m taking her with me. Since she’s a lab, she’ll certainly consume you, and you’re sure as hell bound to be comprised entirely of poison, you evil beast.

Do you see that guy?!? I was in the kitchen (WHERE PEOPLE ARE MEANT TO PREPARE AND CONSUME FOOD) and that nausea-inducing beast was suddenly just there in my periphery. I registered this giant area of concern, turned to determine whether this thing was a threat, and immediately began simultaneously yelling, hyperventilating and gesturing at my son, who just looked at me completely baffled. Clearly I need to have his peripheral vision checked. Finally I was able to make words. Then I was able to make words start to form sentences. And then the coherent sentences came to me. It was this, “You have to kill that now. It’s your job. You’re a dude.” I’m not proud of myself, you guys. I’m a sexist pig. I’m working on it. But he said he’d kill it as long as I disposed of the body, and a frantic (on my part) verbal agreement was struck. I’m happy to say the carcass is long gone.

I know that this was supposed to be about the ants. I remember. Barely. So, about that. I was fighting an ant parade this morning. It was kind of festive, really. Until I put out some temporary housing for them (picture follows) which was less festive for them. It was a bit like a pick a favorite and see how long that one holds out before entering one of the traps game for me. But that House Centipede, you guys. Once he made his cameo, my brain pretty much began drooling and searching for crayons, a coloring book and a stuffed animal for comfort.

Yes. There are four of them. But look. They were everywhere! I didn’t want them to feel crowded or have to break out into mini ant wars over who got the spoils. “Fellas, there’s room for all of you. Make yourselves at home and don’t forget to bring some of the special poison food back to your buddies back home.”

Wherein I discuss wedding dresses, bathroom etiquette and, obviously, sociopaths…

Let's do this. And guys, if you're gonna stick with me through this, and I really hope you will, please start hydrating. Maybe grab yourself some snacks. This is going to be lengthy.

Wedding Dresses

I worked a wedding expo recently for one of the vendors (Captur, which you should definitely check out because it's seriously cool and seriously important), and blah, blah, blah, weddings are expensive. I'm not here to throw shade at the people who want to throw a big party to celebrate themselves (and presumably and hopefully the partner they've selected to hang with for a portion of their existence). Treat yo'self, you guys! I mean, I'm going to do some questioning, because I'm just a giant asshole, but it's not about that. They should do their thing. I'm just pretty confused about the interest in laying down massive stacks to fund a dress that's worn for tiny amounts of clock. And, perhaps, I'm all kinds of the outlier. I took off my very inexpensive wedding dress, which I am reasonably certain cost me just a shade more than a formal dress I wore to events in my college days, and that baby is not in a place I could be forced to identify. I couldn't even hazard a guess. It could have headed off with the tux to travel the world after the wedding for all I know. Mazel tov, wedding dress. I hope you had fun or are still having fun, since I haven't seen you since I took you off, you very inexpensive piece of event-specific sartorial gear. So, you know, I'm a different breed of weird. Weird, but not their weird. Because that's my hypothesis. People willing to plunk down many thousands of bills for fabric to swath themselves in for a LIMITED TIME ONLY – this offer expires in 3, 2,  Y  M  C  A — [No, thankfully, that is NOT a flashback from my own wedding.] — anyway, I can't say I get it, and I'm calling them out. As weird. Perhaps I'm missing the obvious future opportunities to wear that dress? Like I told my bridesmaids? Who very politely controlled their eye rolls when I did so, I'd like to note. Even now, I'm so damn proud of those women because I picked some beastly dresses. Egads!

You know what? Let's move on, to…

Bathroom Etiquette

I've talked about this and related bathroom topics before. It's a concern of mine. Maybe of yours, too. I clearly have some issues, but, well, seriously, people. If you're not new, you know this. It's probably why you're here. Whew. Woman is fucking nuts. I'm so normal. Gonna grab a chilled beverage 'cause it's hot, yo and relax. Contemplate how lucky I am to just not be her. Uh, I digressed. So, bathrooms. I feel like those are special places. Private places. Places where you should really respect boundaries. Places where conversation should be kept to a bare minimum. Hee. Bare. Where phone calls should not be conducted. Where eyes maybe even shouldn't meet when faced with the audible and olfactory horror foisted upon us by some hapless occupant clearly struggling with a situation that perhaps resulted from a certain expired foodstuff… Look, I wasn't in the second stall of that hygienically-challenged restroom in NC that fateful day in early July, but my heart wept for that woman. And my eyes. And my nose. All were weeping. I saw her stagger out. I didn't give her my eyes. Out of courtesy. The battle that woman had waged in there demanded every ounce of my respect, and I was prepared to quickly fashion her some sort of trophy had she demanded I do so. Such was the epic nature of the assault I had unwillingly witnessed by ear and nose along with my fellow restroom denizens. But I silently wished evil upon whoever served her the offending item and wished fervently for her to experience nothing but peace and intestinal happiness for the rest of her vacation. Here's the thing. I'm barely able to cop to the fact that other things happen in there other than fixing a wardrobe malfunction or checking to make sure all the food is gone from my teeth. I'm waiting impatiently for science to catch up to me and my hope that I can erase the existence of poo from the human experience. Hey Science, I left you that voicemail (and email, and IM) a LONG time ago. What's taking you so long? I know you're working on a pill. I'm ready to pop that bad boy every morning, and add time back to my schedule. And I have to say, I'm not one of those people…you know the ones…so I'm not even adding all that much time back. I go into the restroom with an agenda. I know what items are on it. My entire goal is to get in and get out with time remaining on the clock. But you know those people. The "lollygaggers" of the shithouse scene. They really squeeze every last second out of their time in the loo. I don't get those people. I just feel like every second I spend in that cauldron of hygienic decay is time I could be spending outside of it.

Now I think you're warmed up. Let's talk about…

Sociopaths

This one is a bit less comfortable. It shouldn't be, but I guess it could be. I mean, look, if you've seen me, I'm the least threatening woman on the planet. You would totally want me to babysit. [Ed. Note: Uh uh. Not after you read this section. No chance in hell. Because: toddlers.] But I won't. Unless it's one of your pets. One of your normal pets. Like cats or dogs. Don't ask me to babysit your pet unicorn. I'm going to know you're bullshitting me, and you have a straitjacket behind your back. Back off, hater. Anyway, as I was saying, I'm as non-threatening as people are formed at the factory. And though I'm nuts, I'm the sane kind of nuts. So, I was chatting with a friend who was talking about an upcoming trip to the beach. I mentioned that the beach he was going to is really crowded, particularly during the summer months. And we smoothly transitioned to shark attacks. I can't recall the entire thread now, but it made sense then, and I'm sure you can get there on your own. The gist of it was that the beach is overpopulated, and sharks exist. We decided that if you take a knife out with you into the water (his idea, not mine, but BRILL!!!) you can really make some inroads into the overpopulation problem. And then the conversation was a really nice back and forth. I mentioned that it would be good to target people who you know would be slower than you. Just a tiny little knick with the knife…

Hey, man, what's that odd murky cloud around you?

WTF? That's … is that blood? WAIT, IS THAT MY BLOOD, MAN??!?

The shark could go to work on that person, and you'd be safely on the beach before anything could happen to you, because you've got to clear that area fast so you don't get caught up in the take down. You know, the poor sucker is standing there in the water all "Wait, what's with all these fins???" And you're all "No worries, bro. Those babies right there are dolphins. Gotta run, though. Happy hour's in twenty." But my friend upped the ante with surgical precision. He said something about how you'd just start knifing annoying toddlers. Which is really genius, because, you're gonna identify the bratty ones only. The sweet little squatters are the ones you're scooping up and porting back to the safety of the beach. And here's where the sociopath piece comes in…

When you encounter a person who is delighted by a less sunny type of humor, and you're having a conversation similar to the one I've just given you a glimpse into, at what point do you ask yourself "Am I likely to awake to find this person kneeling above me with a very slim wire held in their hands ready to garrote me? Also, do they EVEN look conflicted about it???" I think it's probably wise to take internal pulse checks from time to time. Just ask yourself, "Does he/she seem to be making mental notes about what we're talking about? As if, maybe this could be a solid game plan for some sort of sinister Sunday at the beach?" [Ed. Note: No, I'm not worried about my friend. Seriously sick and delightful sense of humor? Absolutely. Sociopath? Nope. Definitely not.]

Um, should we segue to something else? Like this blimp?

Um…I’m still here. Welcome back to Exaggerated for Effect.

Holy hell!! I haven’t posted since December????? Is that even possible???!

The bad news? This post is brought to you by: Hey look, a shiny object! Expect sharp turns.

Look, there’s been a lot going on. Like a lot! I’d share, but yeah, I’m not going to share. Some of it is boring. Much of it is sooooooo emo. I can’t even begin to explain how emo. I should write some godawful poetry or music, or just emote the hell out of some karaoke. And some of it is just uncategorizable. Hey, red underline? Shut. It. I have no use for you. Where have you even been? Emo has been around since I was actually young. Emo isn’t new, and, you know, neither is The Queen is Dead. *sigh* Fuck, I’m old, and still an enormous fan. You coming close, Morrissey? I’d gamble and buy a ticket to a show I know you have no intention of appearing at, you adorable, complicated freak.

Moving on…

I dropped off one of my two familial comedy partners at sleep-away camp yesterday. [Ed. Note: My other familial comedy partner is my brother, Greg.] In doing so, I realized, yikes, I’m all alone in this house with two people who don’t get me. They are really great people. But they just are obnoxiously normal. Or hmmmm. Normal isn’t the appropriate word, right? That should make me feel very bad because it leaves me with the word abnormal to describe myself and my second human project. That’s not fair. What if she and I are normal and those two are the abbies? Yes, let’s go with that. So, as we drove her to Stinky Jesus Camp (more on that later*), she and I were doing our thing in the back of the car, and I realized the two in the front seats were curiously silent. You know why? Because we were so entertaining, and they were engrossed in what we were saying. I am certain it’s true. Shhhhh. Don’t try to dissuade me.

OK, it’s entirely possible that they were silent in front because JT was fulfilling more of his required 45 hours of behind-the-wheel as he “cruises” his way to his driver’s license. And let me tell you, I’m not real chill when it comes to this. Here’s the thing. I’m still not comfortable with 70% of the people who I share the road with. They are on the phone. They are consuming foodstuffs (including SOUP – no, I will NOT let that go!). They are really, really interested in what’s occurring inside their cars: bug entries, exits, antics, photo-taking; child emissions, discussions, altercations, photo-taking; business meetings, brainstormings; pet interactions, feedings, photo-taking; podcast listening, car concerts, selfie-taking and OH MY GOD THE PHONE CALLS!! Bluetooth, people! I know not every car supports this, but I’ve seen some models that do support bluetooth spirit by with their drivers holding their phones and looking at their phones while speaking. What even the hell is up with that insanity?? Your phone doesn’t need you to look at it in order to work, people! These people are so engaged in these phone calls and it’s taking all of their focus. And another thing. Please can someone explain to me why people are so unbelievably confused by the two left turn lanes??!?! During our JT training, we had some supreme JACKASS move from the left turning lane into the right left turning lane without having a fucking clue that she needed to turn in her driver’s license immediately and submit to a public shaming to be held at her inconvenience. I just don’t understand how some people get into their cars and appear to feel that driving is a thing that they can approach as a just-do-your-best-or-you-know-don’t type of endeavor. Nuh uh, fool. Follow the rules. Then you’ll be fine. There are two left turn lanes. You have selected one of them. Follow the lane you have selected throughout the entirety of the turn. If you do so? You will not cause the car in the other lane to BRAKE SUDDENLY TO AVOID COLLIDING WITH YOUR IGNORANT ASS!!!]

Anna’s and my conversation went in many directions. I still believe fervently that we need to host a podcast (genre to be determined since it doesn’t exist based on my research). We landed in a most interesting place. She maintains, and I think I agree, that people shouldn’t date so far outside of their age group. She was intensely skeeved out by some One Directions dude (HUH???? Not a reference I could hang with her on…) whose wife was 10 years older? younger? than he. We both think this can lead to problems regardless of the gender make-up of the couple because it’s important to have points of reference to talk about to strengthen the bond between the two partners. Then, she got weird and said she couldn’t see a relationship between people who were 4 years apart and I called her crazy and the conversation became standard for us. Meaning it became absurd.

Anna: I think 4 years is a little weird.

Me: I think you’re being ridiculous. I mean, sure, right now? Yes. You’re 12. That’s not going to work. In either direction. And 10 years? Oh HELL NO!

Anna: I know! I’d be dating a 22yo!!

Me: Or…consider this…a 2yo. BOOM! “Hey, baby, where’d you get that sweet t…..uh onesie? Is that the latest band? Or…um…no…it’s just a baby Rorschach test. Yeah, baby, that’s cool. That’s so on point. Let’s make a connection. I’d like to play with that new Wonder Woman toy with you. That oatmeal you’re currently being fed looks so deeeeelicious. Yummmmmmm. Oh no. What’s that I smell? Is it a present? In your diaper?”

Anna: Can I fix that for you? Also, those are some sweet kicks you’re sporting. Do they light up?

Me: That Pull-Up is really highlighting your six-pack.

We were smart enough to stop everything here. As far as you know. Yes, I understand. You’re maybe uneasy. Possibly even appalled if you’re considering that I’m not sharing the worst of that exchange (you’d be right). You should understand that my kid plays in the deep end when it comes to this and other humor of the darker variety, but she is your favorite future babysitter IRL. I promise.

*Stinky Jesus Camp=OK, OK. I know. You’re appalled. Again. But here’s the thing. Anna is away at a Methodist camp this week. Why have I applied the stinky adjective, you may wonder? Thanks for asking! That’s because she returned from this camp last year smelling ….. I don’t know how to explain it… Moldy? Mildewy? It was bizarre, and the smell was just rampant. And aggressive. I moped around the house for weeks after we retrieved her because it took so long to wash the smell out of her clothes.Yes, I have a sensitive nose. Shut up! I went to sleep-away camp and I never smelled like that.  Anyway, we dropped her off yesterday, and I kept thinking back to my own experiences at sleep-away camp and promised myself over and over that I would NOT stow away under her cot à la Lorelai [Ed. Note: Gilmore Girls]. I love sleep-away camp (even with a stink that assertive!), and I warned her that she might find me at the mess hall the next morning scarfing down breakfast with some of the other campers and regaling them with some exaggerated for effect tale. See what I did there? She tried hard not to roll her eyes at me (like you just did) because she knew that I’d see that as an issued challenge. #smartgirl

I love the December HSA Doctor Tour. I’m clearly lying.

So….

I spent my December seeing as many people with advanced degrees in the medical field as possible. How about you? I think you’re lying. Shame on you.

I spent some quality time in the microwave/claustrophobic tube. This was to check the status of my REDACTED. People, send me your contact info and I’ll add you to my HIPAA forms. Until then, I’ve got to keep some mystery here. I seem to adhere to that same philosophy when it comes to my docs. Read on for more on that madness. *eyeroll* Why those poor advanced-degreed people allow me to continue to step foot in their offices is beyond me. But, as I was saying, I did some time in the MRI/torture device due to my “issues” because I’m flawed genetically. If you’ve ever been here, you know that. You’ve read my stuff. I’m all kinds of flawed. You shouldn’t be surprised that it’s flowing through my DNA like a MOFO.

But despite the fact that it might look like I’m going to tell you about all the doctors I’ve visited on my December (maybe November, too?) tour, I’m actually here to tell you (AGAIN!) about how pathologically pathetic I am when it comes to recounting my medical history to these doctors when all they’re trying to do is help me out with the care and feeding of my physical being and tell you that it’s all because of GENETICS!!

My mother is just as bad about the specifics of medical crap. Which means the fault lies entirely with her. Or my Nana. I adored my Nana. And I adore my mother. So, either way the shade I’m throwing here is causing a little heartburn. But hey, it’s not my fault. It’s theirs. And I can live with that heartburn. As I was sitting with my mother who was kind enough to be my +1 for the MRI procedure. As we waited (AND WAITED) for me to get in the microwave and toast myself to a nice degree of “Eh, this sandwich is edible enough, but I’d prefer it a little warmer,” the two of us giggled ourselves silly over our inability to give any doctor a non-fictional accounting of our medical history.

I told my mother that I usually start with a really good energy. I’m upbeat and positive that this time will be different. I’m caffeine-equipped so I know that I can give the physician the appropriate amount of detail. But then the doctor asks something like, “Have you ever had an operation?” I usually start thinking to myself: “Obviously! I have two kids. They were both C’s. Because the first one was bad. Really bad. He was just not progressing. And then it was an emergency C and the epidural didn’t work and the pain when they cut into m….uh, the doc is starING AT ME!!! YES! TWO!” And then the doubt sinks in as I realize that I’ve been under anesthesia so many times that I’ll almost certainly need to ask for some clarification as to what constitutes an operation. I think to myself, “I had a hair baby.” [Ed. Note: People, please, trust. Don’t ask. Google this shit if you must. Dermoid cyst. Ovary. You’re welcome. Wait. No. I’m sorry. That’s the appropriate response.] The point is that I just shouldn’t be consulted on my own health history. I understand. You’re asking yourself either: A. Who in the hell should be consulted if not YOU!?! or B. WHAT IN THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU THAT YOU CAN’T BE IN CHARGE OF YOUR OWN MEDICAL HISTORY?? To you I say, you’re entirely correct. But I’m a different breed of cat. My problem can be summarized in the definition of the word “history” because I feel that my medical history is best left in the past. YMMV.

The moral of the story (so to speak) is that my mother is built similarly and she’s been running around town giving false or incomplete data to her doctors just as I have. And not in a malicious way. In the “I’m trying to help you but I have nothing for you but a vague recollection of something that happened to either me or an acquaintance” way. I’m so entertained by the knowledge that she and I are going to the medical professionals around this town driving them completely mad with our particular brand of ineptitude. It’s pathetic, but if you look at it in the right way, it can be endearing. You might need a really special brand of lenses.