Friday, June 17, 2011

reasons i'm not going to my high school reunion

The self-appointed "committee" keeps spamming me via Facebook and e-mail, so I know it's coming: My ten-year high school reunion, something that in my mind is akin to the ten-year anniversary of my narrow escape from being forced to shank someone in prison.

Granted, I hated them all at the time (or at the very least 85 percent of them), but I stopped caring about them approximately nine years ago and began devoting my energy to more important things, like popping zits and brushing my cat.

Here are the other reasons I'm not going to my high school reunion:

1. I can live without chugging a bottle of champagne, smashing it on the ground, brandishing it like a weapon and screaming, "You're all cunts, all of you! I still hate you all!"

2. What will I wear? If I dress too formally, it will look like I'm trying too hard; if I wear flip-flops and jorts (read: dress how I normally do), everyone will assume I live in a van down by the river; if I wear a simple, casual dress, it won't fit quite right and my black bra will hang out because it always does, and everyone will assume I bought it at Target. And they'll be right -- I will have totally panicked at the last minute, purchased it at Target on my way to the venue and put it on in the parking lot. There is no way to win.

3. I don't remember most of my junior and senior years of high school. Confession: I smoked a lot of pot. But also I'm not sure I want to remember -- I was in a fucked-up relationship with a real sorry excuse for a male human at the time, and I'm afraid returning to the scene of the crime, so to speak, will cause long-dead emotions to rise from their graves like zombies, gnaw my flesh and slurp my brains like spaghetti.

4. Some of my former classmates are going to be fat and ugly now. Some of them are going to be bald; others are going to be wearing mom jeans. Due to excessive tanning, others are going to resemble a leather handbag that was left in the rain, then the sun, and then rediscovered in a dumpster by a homeless lady who uses it to haul around aluminum cans and bits of wadded-up tissue. Still others are going to be smoking hot, and I'll probably want to check out their asses. Do I care who falls into which category? Not especially. I'd much rather use my imagination.

5. I have nothing to say to these people. I haven't seen them in ten years. I don't want to see pictures of their kids. I don't care where they work, if they still live at home, or if they, as sheltered Midwestern kids from the suburbs, tried to make it in the "big city" and either failed or were wildly successful. At this point, it's the same as hearing this shit from some stranger I just met at the grocery store who won't shut the fuck up when all I want to do is go home so I can put my ice cream in the freezer.

6. Facebook. Enough said.

Friday, June 10, 2011

congratulations, you melancholy fuck, you fucking made it.

Today I received an invitation to a bridal shower in honor of a good friend of mine. And that's fantastic -- she is a smart, sexy, funny woman who has found a wonderful man to share her life with, and I couldn't be happier for her.

But then, like the ants that keep coming back in my kitchen despite my repeated attempts to murder them with bleach, the word "single-ism" crawled all over my goodwill like those 20-times-their-body-weight-carrying sons of bitches on a forgotten cupcake. 

I couldn't shake the feeling: It seems unfair that individuals who have already found the loves of their lives also get rewarded with lavish showers, parties and tax breaks.

As a single, 28-year-old girl who is not -- and has never been -- engaged, my only option if I want a new sheet set, accent rug or non-stick frying pan is to buy it myself. I don't get to walk around Target with a scanner gun ticking expensive household items off my wish list. I don't get to invite friends over for mimosas and cheese cubes and be presented with gifts from said list. Instead I -- with my single income -- get to live in an apartment where people fuck hookers outside my bedroom window and I routinely find empty bottles of gin and women's earrings in the parking lot -- true story.

And I know this sounds bitter; it's not supposed to. I never thought I'd still be single at 28, but here I am, and it's really not as bad as I'd imagined; in fact, I like to think of it as an adventure. Is it possible that I'll still be single at 38, 48, 58? I suppose, and my thoughts and feelings about that possibility revise themselves every day. Regardless, I know I'll survive (and hey, I might even be awesome).

But I still cannot abide a society that not only punishes but seems to frown upon people who, through choice or circumstance, end up remaining single. Case in point: Ever notice that when discussing someone who's maybe a little "different" or possibly "crazy," one of the first things people say is, "Well, he/she has never been married," as though this indicates some sort of fucked-up personal failing? 

And this greater societal belief, that there's something inherently wrong with being single, has rubbed off on our traditions so that we reward people for finding love and companionship and ignore people who do what takes some real goddamn courage: Slog through life, deal with plodding day-to-day bullshit, solve problems, overcome sadness and insecurities, grieve, cry, scream, laugh and never stop trying, all on their own, with no one to rely on but themselves.

That's not to say that if the opportunity for love and a shared life presented itself, I wouldn't jump on it. (Another thing that takes some fucking balls: Loving again after you've been burned.) But in the meantime, I propose that once a year on -- what's today? -- June 10, single people should get wasted with all their single friends, pat each other on the back and say, "Congratulations, you melancholy fuck, you fucking made it."

And then the next day, we'll all get some goddamn coffee and go print off our friends' registries at Target.

(Note: I do not intend to make it sound as though I believe marriage is a solution to one's problems, and I would much rather be single than in a fucked-up relationship. I am simply tired of being made to feel that I've somehow failed because I'm not married.)

Friday, June 3, 2011

better play it safe around power lines

This isn't a joke, she said. This morning I saw a squirrel on the power line, and it ran halfway across and then part of the wire must have been exposed, or something, because it got cooked. I mean, like, singed alive. You could smell it on the air, that rotten smell of burnt hair and cooked flesh -- there's no other smell like it. Like if a fire could come on as quickly as a rainstorm, or if running your nails across a chalkboard had a smell, it would smell the way this smelled.

You're drunk, he said. Or you're high, still, from last night. There wasn't any squirrel getting cooked alive on any power line.

She slammed the curling iron into the sink. The sound of the hot metal barrel against the cool ceramic bowl was startling, and several water droplets hissed and then evaporated, vanishing as though vanquished, as though forced.

I saw what I saw, she said. Don't tell me I'm wrong.