Sexist interactions. The not new normal.

Ah, sexist anecdotes, I can’t hear enough of them. Super please yes yay! And the people who are so generous as to bend your ear with them? Salt of the earth. Nobody enjoys a women vs. dogs comparison more than I do. As humor goes, it’s almost as intellectually-advanced as a good blonde joke.

Damn Machine

It’s not that our washing machine officially turned in its resignation. It’s more that we called it in for its performance review, gave it specific areas for improvement, and realized it wasn’t listening to one word we said but was playing with its instrument panel instead. Damn machine. So we hired a mentor to come in and make some critical tweaks to Sgt. Suds before things became dire, and we murdered it in the wee hours of the morning (when the Sarge sleeps).

The Sexist Washing Machine Mentor

The washing machine mentor (this is a real job title on LinkedIn – don’t quote me on that) arrives and the first brief interaction I have with him is when he calls me Mom which….

Get Out Movie GIF

Listen, sir, I’m wrestling with enough demons trying to figure out who I am these days without you immediately reducing me to a label. And only one label at that. Damn. Also, and yes, this sounds cruel, but to you I should be Daughter. Enjoy your day. I was enjoying mine until you threw me back into a morass of inner turmoil and self-doubt.

Women and Dogs Anecdote

So dude comes in to begin the mentoring, looks at me and then at Matthew and his brain fills with a genius idea.

I’ll paraphrase because my brain has already reached for the bleach to begin the memory wipe.

Mentor, while looking at me: Remember, this is something I was talking to another man about.
Me: …
Matthew: …
Mentor, not reading the room: Why aren’t women as glad to see men as dogs are after a long day? If you locked a woman and a dog in the trunk, which one would be wagging their tail glad to see you when you let them out?
Me, turning and exiting the room: …
Matthew, realizing he’s now stuck with fool supervision: …
Mentor, still not reading the room is pretty entertained with himself: I work hard all day. I asked my wife will you wag your tail for me?

Matthew tried to get him to work more and talk less since talking wasn’t doing him any favors, and I think it’s possible even Matthew’s patience began to fade at the end. He’s super patient, unlike me, so that’s not an easy thing to accomplish.

I will close by recommending this movie I really enjoyed. Don’t expect this to deliver as some sort of treatise but as more of a shallow dive to inspire a greater and more inclusive exploration.

Another missed opportunity…

To Do: Buy Dream Journal

UGH! I had a dream that was so engrossing, so compelling, so alarming, and, also, so COMPLETELY realized in its plot, pacing, and impact that I woke up from it energized for 20 minutes thinking about the novel I was going to write based on it. And then? I fell back asleep. Without writing down the outline of it to jog my memory in the morning. Do you know what I remember about it now?

One group of women gains a measure of power (though it’s merely an illusion) by turning a blind eye to (and even participating in) the oppression of another group of women.

Sound a touch familiar? It’s basically a critical and fascinating aspect in The Handmaid’s Tale, so, you know, already a thing that exists. Sure, my dream focused more fully on it, and the narrative explored some of the nooks and crannies that I’ve been obsessing over since I watched the series on Hulu (which teased it out more than the book) and have ruminated on the nuances of how women are coming to terms with #MeToo and how to support each other in how we’re all experiencing the movement. But. I. Can’t. Remember. The. Details!!!

It would definitely have been a smashing success. [Ed. Note: She dreams of the most ridiculous shit, you guys. It would have been a flop.]

To Do: Invent Something

Anna and I have these little brainstorms from time to time where we just spitball inventions. The other day we landed on two. She started things off by saying that there should be a Make-Up-Brush-Claw-A-Go-Go. (The name is mine. Patent pending.) This MUBCAGG encompasses multiple brushes so you aren’t constantly losing them. This from the kid who doesn’t use them. But, ok. Anyway, I upgraded the idea by saying it should be more of a Make-Up-Brush-Pocket-Knife-A-Go-Go. (Patent also pending.) That way you don’t stick one make-up brush in your eye while using one of the others. Also? Way more bad-ass. Also also, much more compact. It’s just good business, people.

On to my invention which was…

Drumroll…

This is big, people…

EDIBLE CARDS!! OK, I hate clutter. I really really do. With every fibre of my being. Wait. Fiber. Um, focus, Steph. Anyway, as I was saying, I hate clutter. And cards instantly become clutter after they have been read. However, I’m also sentimental. So, I have to keep the card. Because I can’t make these two parts of my personality agree to throw away the card, so the sentimental part wins. Now…how about a card that’s made of delicious chocolate? Right?? You can purchase it with some clever little event-appropriate message, sign your name in edible ink, and you’ve got yourself a delightful notkeepsake anyone would love to receive! WHO’S WITH ME??

To Do: Copyright Bumper Sticker

So, I was driving along, giving another well-received car concert when I noticed in my rearview mirror that the truck behind me was so close to my rear bumper that I couldn’t see the headlights. “Why, hello, sir. Your truck appears to be performing a rectal exam on Sebastian. [Ed. Note: Her car. Yeah, she named it.] However, I believe that’s an unnecessary procedure for automobiles. Thoughts?” I was instantly inspired and this bumper sticker quote came to me.

Any closer to Sebastian’s ass, you’ll need to chip in for gas.

Now, clearly, that is not going to work. It’s got a very specific audience, and I’m not a bumper sticker person. So, I’m still doing some tweaking, and I expect to get this baby into production sometime soon. Be on the lookout.

If you stuck with me for the entirety of this blog post, I think you’ll agree that there’s a reason posting’s been a little light lately. Sadly, I’m committed to posting more frequently. You’ve been warned.

Deeeeeeeep thoughts. Ish.

I need to become part of a Speculative Squad.

Who’s with me? A group of people who want to hang out and discuss whatever is swirling in their brains. My brain is such an open organ. I’m inviting people in all the time.
Hey, wanna hear something weird? Grab a coffee. Let’s chat.

And I guess because I’m constantly all up in that gelatinous monster in my skull — Hey, while I’m here with a 💀 Happy Halloween! — I assume that people think the same way I do. I don’t know why. That doesn’t really make any sense. I am rooting around up in there so much that I’ve gotten comfortable with my trails of thought. No. Not trains. Train cars are connected. I think mine are more like trails. Think about when you’re hiking and you feel like you’ve kind of lost the trail for a minute or two? Maybe there are leaves and it’s a little confusing for a minute? Then you find the trail again. Yep. That’s how things are going up there. Anyway, as I was saying, I assume people work like I do up in their grey matter, and, most assuredly, they do not. For which they should be very grateful. And I want to take a peek. Browse the inner machinery of other brains and see what I’m missing. A guided tour. See how they’re making the sausage. I want to see how people process the important things. Not the latest diet trend. Sure, we can talk about it, if we must, but I’m really interested in what people think about … hmmm, how about this? I read that men are, to some, slightly unwelcome in the #metoo conversation. I have a #metoo stake. However, I’d argue [Ed. Note: Vociferously. Trust.🙄] that we ALL have a stake in #metoo.* I’m including men in that we. (Assange and the like can seriously go and sequester themselves on a deserted island right the fuck** now, however!) Now, there’s a shit ton of nuance that I’d go into in the discussion. But that’d be an interesting thing to hear others’ opinions on.

And not just that topic. There are so many things I’d love to discuss. How about:
  • Current events and how to navigate political discussions with people you disagree with but are logical and normal (Come on, you can’t discuss anything with the crazies on both sides of the political spectrum.);
  • Music that makes you stop whatever you’re doing and breathe it in, or lie down and let the lyrics punch you, or run or walk a little faster with an enormous grin on your face, or sing it at the top of your lungs, or dance furiously, or pantomime the lyrics;
    Shut up. I love music.
  • Books that affect you (beach reads need not apply);
  • Relationships;
  • Why did I start a list??? Jesus. What’s next? An agenda and a presentation??
    Dear Speculative Squad,
    Yes, I am a total loser. However, I wouldn’t want our hangs to be like this at all. I’d want them to be like someone just queued up Pink Floyd and everybody felt like they’d taken a major hit. OK? Please don’t kick me out of the Speculative Squad before I even get to join.
    P.S. I also promise never to tag any SS social media post with #squadgoals.
    P.P.S. I also also promise never to post anything related to SS if SS is a super secret Speculative Squad. If it is, for the sake of alliteration points, I recommend prepending Super Secret to the name. Thank you for your time.
    Sincerely,
    Speculative Squad Superfan
I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s what I want so much in my life. Interactions that matter.
I wonder often how many of us are looking for this type of connection with people. We’re so wrapped up in our relationships with our screens, or when we do get the chance to engage with people, we seem to be so worried about status that we forget that it’s really fucked up in the end. Who really cares who’s “winning” when shit’s so very real out there?

I don’t know. I may be crazy.

*I understand and sympathize with those who are triggered by #metoo. My intention is not to trivialize that in any way here with the lightness of my tone.
**Yeah. This post garnered more than its fair share of profanity. 

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.”