Category Archives: The Past

The First Kiss Is The Weirdest

Jana: Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Congratulations on Valentine’s Day!

I’m sorry, I don’t know why I congratulated you. It was an awkward way to fill a sentiment about this holiday that people have such varied feelings about. Like, I’m sorry if today is sad for you but happy if it’s happy for you! I don’t know. Today is weird.

Catherine: TODAY IS AWFUL. Today is the day where I go out with my lady pal and we  get drunk but not so drunk that we can’t drive safely to work the next morning. It’s a bad day, guys. A BAD DAY.

Jana: Regardless of where you are romantically today, at least you’ve all at this point been kissed at least once. Right? Well, most of you I guess. Or I’m gonna say it: if I have, I bet all of you have. And I have, guys. For lots of obvious reasons (social anxiety, recurring nose warts) the first kiss didn’t come until 2002, but it came. This is the story of my Very First Kiss.

Like so many of my tales, this one takes place on a high school chorus/band trip. Let me explain a little bit about the chorus/band trip. These trips were simply weird excuses to take hordes of eager, hormonal students on a bus and let them stay in a hotel. As cover, we always did one “concert” for some poor unassuming middle school audience, but the concerts were never the point. The point was the bus ride and the hotel. They were the entire reason for anything. They were EXCITING AS FUCK.

This particular story occurs during my second chorus/band trip, in April of my sophomore year of high school. Having somehow survived the tumultuous ending of my first, kiss-less relationship the previous year, I decided to hop back on the bus and give it another whirl. Things had changed since last year: I’d started wearing eyeliner, for example, and I had a few more t-shirts from the Gap. Despite these leaps forward, I remained, as my friends lovingly put it, a lip virgin. And so I was. My lips were untouched by man or anyone but my mom, really. And I didn’t have any plans to change that – I really think that I felt pretty content with my fate, which I assumed to be no kissing until at least college and possibly age 40. I was cool with it.

So, that’s how I started the trip.

The journey was long: for some reason, we were going to Quebec. On the bus ride there, we watched Goodfellas, and when we finally arrived we went to a Hard Rock Cafe. It was all very exciting and new, and even though I didn’t drink yet, I felt something similar to an alcohol-induced thrill – there were so many cute upperclassmen and we were all staying in a hotel! My sober delirium continued when, on the first night, a bunch of the cute upperclassmen guys came to HANG OUT IN MY ROOM. See, I was rooming with a girl who was – while still a band geek like me – just cool. She’s just somebody who has it together, and isn’t scared to talk to people, and knows what’s up. I shall call her Stella. So Stella just like, invited the dudes to come hang out, and they DID. It was, in my eyes, miraculous.

During that first night, I spent some time flirting with one of these cool upperclassmen (truth: he was younger than me, because I’m so old for my grade. THE BOYS ARE ALWAYS YOUNGER THAN ME. But in this case, he appeared entirely older because he was a junior). I didn’t dare to imagine that anything would come of the flirtation, but I did sort of admit to myself that it was happening, and I went to bed elated.

Here I am on the boat cruise! I'm pretty sure I felt GREAT about my belly shirt, long jean skirt, french braids, flip-flops combo.

Here I am in Quebec! I’m pretty sure I felt GREAT about my belly shirt, long jean skirt, french braids, flip-flops combo.

Stella had also noticed the flirting, and the next day she knew what she had to do. I think we went on a boat cruise of some kind, during which she hatched her plan. Afterward, back in the hotel, she made the arrangements. It was like this:

She cleared our room.

She talked to the guy in question (we will call him MICHAEL).

She ordered me into the room. “Michael is waiting. Get in there,” she said.

I went to the bathroom in the hallway and almost puked from anxiety.

I entered the room, where Michael was, indeed, waiting for me.

The rest is a little blurry, but I know that we began by sitting side-by-side on the bed, and that he made a joke which I believe referenced Tigger, from Winnie the Pooh, although I really can’t imagine how he worked that in or why it was relevant. But whatever, I laughed – or, more likely, I choked on nervous sounds. And then it happened: he reached for my head. WE WERE KISSING.

That’s mostly what I remember. I think at one point we like, laid back, and kept kissing, but that was it. I wasn’t at ALL focused on the sensations of the kiss, because all I could think was HOLY FUCK I HAVE TO CALL MY BEST FRIEND AND TELL HER ABOUT THIS. My best friend, see, had also not yet been kissed. She and I were the last holdouts, like nervous, adolescent WWII buddies. All that mattered about the experience was sharing it with her.

I don’t know how it ended – how do makeout sessions end? I guess we just got tired. I think we joked around a little bit more, and then he left. And I RAN to the payphone booth, located in the hotel hallway, to call my friend.

Michael and I never dated, although we remained friends throughout high school, and I think he knows that he’ll always live in my memory as the first guy who was willing to kiss me. Also, he’s very successful now, whereas I actually have less money than I had in 2002, so I’m sure he doesn’t regret that we never repeated our tigger-fueled makeout sesh.

So there you have it. I owe Stella everything.

Catherine: Just so it’s crystal clear, not having a first kiss till Spring, 2002 would make Jana 16 but VERY NEARLY 17 at the moment of impact. I want like, everyone to be as aware of that fact as possible. That, to me, is very informative information (and yes informative and information mean the same thing, but I think they couple really well together in this instance so shut up about it.)

When I was in eighth grade I also went to Quebec and ALSO went on a weird boat cruise. What is it with schools and Quebec? Weird. I went with the French class, which makes more  sense than your trip, since they speak french there or whatever. But I didn’t take french. So I’m really not sure how or why I was allowed to go. Like, everyone else on the trip spoke french but me and I DON’T KNOW WHY I WAS THERE. One of the main things about that trip that I recall was that a bunch of the girls let the guys write stuff on their stomachs on the back of the bus? And I remember thinking, this is so SEXY. Also that I had a really bad haircut and pants with stripes down the leg were IN.

But besides all that, if you’re happy today – fuck you.

Just kidding.

No, I’m not kidding.

Jana: She’s kidding.

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Dining Alone

Catherine: Hey guys. I meant to write this post over the holidays, because that’s when this story takes place but guess what – I didn’t.

So – here it is now.

When I was about 8 or 9, I got a bright pink matching long-sleeved Barbie shirt and Barbie pants from a friend for my birthday. They were pajamas, but I didn’t understand that – I thought it was an outfit. My birthday was in March, but I so revered this outfit that I SAVED IT UNTIL THE FOLLOWING DECEMBER – Christmas Eve, to be exact. I wanted to debut the shit out of this because it was FIERCE.

Growing up, I didn’t have my own bedroom, I shared a room with my brothers that had no door, so I would have to change in the bathroom. On this particular Christmas Eve, once my entire family had arrived for dinner, I went into the bathroom to make my move. For the first time in my life, I also locked the door – I thought this was suuuuuper grown up. I put on my Barbie ensemble and was ready to greet the family, expecting nothing if not an obscene amount of praise. But. I couldn’t unlock the door.

The lock, you see, was a weird turnkey thingy, and I couldn’t get it to work. It wasn’t until people started to need to use the (only) bathroom that I had to sort of explain, um… I can’t open the door… It was horrifying. I thought I was going to be in there FOREVER. My family was coaching me, trying to explain, “Just turn it to the left, and lift it a little.” Nothing. I was crying. I was going to die, alone, in a bathroom, in my Barbie outfit that I now HATED. Finally, after probably 45 minutes, I was free, having unlocked the door successfully moments before my dad was going to unscrew the doorknob. But I was also humiliated. I had since changed out of my Barbie outfit, so I emerged in what I had been wearing before. I got a plate of food, and too embarassed to talk to anyone, I took it into the bathroom where I shut the door (I didn’t lock it, of course) and ate alone. I remember looking at the discarded pink ensemble with SO MUCH HATE and no, I never wore it again.

This was the first in a string of being locked in bathrooms moment in my life – another memorable one was locking myself in a bathroom in Lithuania and giving myself a full-blown panic attack. So. Now I always test a lock before I lock it to see how it works. Like, I still do that. Y’all, I got problems.

Jana: Oh lil Cath. Poor lil Cath.

I wish you still had the Barbie outfit. Did it have Barbie’s face on it? Or was it a million little Barbies in a pattern that covered all the cloth? I just wish I knew, for some reason. Either way, I’m delighted to picture you sitting on a toilet, face over your plate of food, refusing to leave the bathroom. And I’m happy to report that, just a few miles away, I was probably doing something similar right at that very moment, unaware that parallel me (you) existed.

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The Dawn of the Millenium

Jana: Look everyone, it’s New Year’s Eve again! Or I’m sorry, the eve of New Year’s Eve, again. It just keeps happening.

You may remember that last year I told you, in no uncertain terms, that it’s best to STAY HOME on NYE. And I absolutely was not wrong. Odds are good that, if you do something, it will suck. Or, if it doesn’t suck, it will at best be entirely mediocre. Chances that you’ll meet someone you might fall in love with ON new year’s eve are shockingly small. Chances that you’ll just find someone to kiss who isn’t really gross or horrible are ALSO small. If you already have someone who you love and who loves you, it’s likely that you’ll get in a fight. I’m just saying. These are just the cold, hard, facts.

However, this year on NYEE, I wanted to provide you with a happy memory. I know that’s not characteristic of what we do here at DWDSTDT – and is, in fact, unprecedented –  but as I thought about New Year’s Eve’s past, I couldn’t help but remember this really nice one, and it seemed worth sharing.

It was NYE, 1999. The previous year, ’98, had been so brutally awful and sad for me that my parents were determined to make this one good. Plus, it was a big deal: the millenium, and all, and the excitement of a likely Y2K disaster. With these things in my mind, my parents organized a party for my entire 8th grade class. The parents would come too, and they would hang out in the kitchen while we, the teens, partied in the living room. We posed this to the class and people LOVED it because parents knew they’d be in the same house as their kids and everyone would be safe, and the kids were all nerdy like me and just wanted to soberly slow dance anyway. We were doing this!

My best friend Molly and I were elated. We weren’t exactly the “cool kids” in the class (we were weird, dirty, and generally left alone), but here we were, about to host the NYE MILLENNIUM party! We got right to work. First of all, I got my hair straightened, so I looked roughly 1000 times more attractive than usual. Also, I bought a sparkly sweater. Molly put her hair in pigtails. Our other nerdy friend agreed to “DJ.” Molly’s mom showed up early with the largest platter of deli meats that has probably ever existed. IT WAS ON.

Oh, and one other thing. Another friends’ mom happened to own a local toy store. As a surprise, she brought us party favors: little black journals that you had to write in with special day-glo pens. Everyone got one. EVERYONE GOT ONE. Has anything ever been better?

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We ALSO had one of those mini polaroid cameras, which were HUGE and not yet defunct. We pasted the mini pictures in the journals. GENIUS.

We partied away; drinking soda, listening to Smashmouth, hugging each other. Everyone used the journals as little “yearbooks” for the night, having everyone else sign theirs. The class HOT GUY, who I will call Jim, wrote in mine: “Thanks for having this party Jana, we really needed something like this.” I read it over and over. He knew my name; I was somebody at last.

There were slight hiccups, like the DJ friend breaking the stereo (see my list of party high points and low points, below). But mostly, I was in heaven.

At midnight, we all gathered on the back porch to watch Boston turn black from the Y2K power outage (my parents’ house has a view of the boston skyline. It’s a “grand view,” which is also the name of the street, which you are not the first one to point out). I will admit that when the lights stayed on I was pretty disappointed – what now, if not the apocalypse?, I thought. Well, life went on. Molly and I spent ALL of new year’s day in our pajamas, listening to Smashmouth’s hit CD on repeat and eating just SO MUCH deli meat. We rode our NYE2000 high straight into January: we were the 8th graders, and it was a new millenium, and anything (read: just high school, more sadness) could happen.

I will leave you with these excerpts from my “Millennium Journal.” Read them, and go forth into your NYE with full hearts and low expectations.

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Catherine: Unusual though it may be, yes, this post has been about a happy memory. One of the very few Jana has, so YOU’RE ALL WELCOME. As someone in Jana’s house, right now, I can gladly report that yes, the journal is as wonderful as it looks and oh-so-exquisite.

As Jana and I prepare to spend NYE together tomorrow, I think we can both assuredly say that it will not be any more fun than that party she threw that time in 8th grade. The party we are going to SOUNDS REALLY COOL (it’s in a WOOD SHOP – RIGHT?), but I know that we won’t have anyone to make out with, something unforeseen and tragic will happen, and maybe we’ll kill ourselves. And then it’ll be 2013 and we’ll begin making a new year of shitty memories.

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An Individual Wave of Feminism, Or, My Childhood

Jana: I was a feminist child.

Here is what that means: as a little girl, I was a subscriber to and avid reader of “New Moon”, which was a magazine by girls and for girls that talked about how to be an empowered girl. The only stuffed animal I cared about was my stuffed pig, aptly named “Piggy,” and the most important thing about her, in my mind, was that she was a GIRL. This was a major point of contention when I introduced Piggy to new people – I found that people assumed that Piggy was a boy unless I specifically indicated otherwise, so I made sure to always discuss her gender during introductions.

“New Moon” also made calendars. In 1999, I cherished mine.

I played sports with the boys at recess, and I was always ready to yell at anyone who had something to say about boys being better than girls at anything. I thought of my lack of personal hygiene as somewhat of a defensive stance against society’s insistence that girls be pretty. And I was NOT ok with popular music that put women down.

This? All this? The clothing and, I can only assume, the wrist guards? My feminist cause.

There is one incident in my life that has come around to haunt me many times, and it occurred in the fourth grade. That year, my entire class took a trip to “The Farm.” As the name suggests, The Farm was just  – yup – a farm, located in New York State, and every year classes from my hippy private school took week-long trips there. For one week, we helped milk cows and herd cows and garden and cook. Despite some extreme homesickness and massive amounts of complaining about the healthy food, I mostly loved it.

In fourth grade, though, a new boy had joined the class; I shall call him Dave. Dave was, for lack of a better word, contentious. He was misogynistic only to the extent that a fourth grade boy can be misogynistic. In handwork class (yes, everyone took “handwork”), while we sat knitting hats, he talked loudly about how HOT Tyra Banks was. For reasons that I couldn’t exactly identify, I was offended. He played soccer with me and the other boys at lunch, and he was openly surprised that I wasn’t terrible. I was offended. Basically, he was just always gettin up in my face about how cool boys were, and I saw it as my personal duty, on behalf of my gender, to take him on every time.

So, we took our trip to The Farm. As luck would have it, Dave and I were put in the same activities group. One afternoon during a free play period, the whole group was hangin around on the tire structure (which was GREAT). He started singing a song that was popular at the time: “One, two, three, four, get your woman on the floor,” he sang. BRRRRRRINNNNG! Went the Feminist Alerts in my head. I felt my face get hot.

Get “your” woman “on the floor”? Oh HELL no. First of all, no one would EVER call me “his” (I’d read numerous stories about this in “New Moon”). Secondly, get her on the floor? Come on. This is the 90s! You can’t just PUT your woman on the FLOOR (I think I also sensed something sexual about that line, but couldn’t define it, but figured I should be mad about it). I yelled these things at him. He sang louder. I said he had BETTER STOP. He sang even louder, and got his buddy to join in. Finally, seeing no other recourse, I kicked him. In the balls.

I wasn’t AIMING for his balls, that I can remember. I was just kicking! But, that’s apparently where it landed, and I guess it really hurt.

Anyway, he told on me. We had a long meeting with the teacher, during which I SOBBED. I wanted HIM to apologize. He did, but I could tell he didn’t mean it. “Not just to ME!” I insisted. “Don’t you understand that this is about women everywhere?” He looked at me like he hated me, and like he wanted to get back to the tire structure.

That was mostly that. But to this day, Dave has yet to forget it, or to forgive. Getting kicked in the balls is a real thing, huh guys? He ended up going to a high school near mine, and when I was introduced to someone who turned out to be a mutual friend, he was like – “Oh jesus, you’re the girl who kicked Dave in the balls? Shiiit. He haaates you.”

Addendum: I, seriously and honestly, wrote my college essay about this incident. I’m also not sure why.

Catherine: JESUS.

WHY DON’T I HAVE A TIME TRAVEL MACHINE TO SEE TINY JAN KICKING A KID IN THE BALLS.

WHY WHY WHY.

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The Paid Acting Gig

Jana: In college, I was an Actor. Here’s what I mean by that: In college, I minored in theater, I auditioned for all the plays, and I was occasionally cast as topless leads. And like all of my acting colleagues, my dream was to get a paid acting gig. Today, I share the story of my first ever (I mean also last, but you know) Paid Acting Gig. A thrill!

The summer of 2006 was spent in Burlington VT; my first time living in an apartment instead of moving home for the summer. And although I spent June locked in my room with a crushing depression that only abated when I finally found steady employment (The Gap stepped in and gave me a job, so. Support them if you can.), by July I was the happiest of 20-year-olds, working days, drinking nights, and generally doing stupid things in a large group of fellow actors.

When August rolled around, we all started to hear tell that there was a thing happening – this gig, this acting opportunity – that was paid. Our ears perked up. What was it, exactly?

Listen. It was the Date Rape Play.

Yes, you heard me. It was a thing called the Date Rape Play (literally, it didn’t even have a gentle subtitle), and it was performed each year for the incoming freshmen as part of orientation, so that they would be clear about knowing they might be raped at some point/what rape was. Here is the plot of the play:

Girl and guy are BEST FRIENDS. But, guy has a douchy brother, who is in a FRAT (bad). Frat boy brother invites girl and guy to party! They go, and they get pretty drunk (BAD). Afterwards, they go back to boy’s room, and make out. Guy is like, let’s have sex, girl is like, no, guy does it anyway (the lights fade as they’re making out, but it’s clear what has Happened).

NEXT MORNING, Girl is deeply confused and upset. She talks to her Lesbian Best Friend about it, who encourages her to tell the R.A. Girl does, and Boy is expelled from school.

That’s mostly it!

The woman who ran the date rape operation generally hired enough theatrically-inclined people to comprise like four casts, and each actor was paid $200. I called to inquire, and after a brief phone interview, I was cast in the play. And – big news – I was cast as the Rapee. (I told this story to someone once, and when I got to this part he was like, you mean the victim? And I was like, oh yeah, I guess that’s more appropriate to say.) So yeah, I was cast as the victim. Or, in my mind, THE STAR. It was fairly exciting, as these things go.

Rehearsals were hilarious. My cast included one of my friends as the lesbian, another friend as the frat boy brother, and a third friend as the person playing two parts (the lesbian’s girlfriend and the health center representative, who I believe was named Willow). Who, you ask, was playing the rapist? Well, let me tell you. Picture this:

He was in his 30s, and when I asked what he did he told me that he “DJ’s downtown sometimes.” He was short with a curly ‘fro sort of haircut and glasses, and he wore a necklace. Also, he was in his 30s and had agreed to be in this play with a bunch of 20-year olds. ALSO HE HAD TO PRETEND RAPE ME.

Regardless, my friends and I laughed our way through the month of rehearsals (my onstage rapist totally tried to be part of the group but we weren’t that welcoming), memorizing just insanely bad dialogue that included lines like  “You got the look girl, work it!” . And then, finally, the day came. The freshman had arrived, and they were piled into the theater, waiting nervously to make fun of whatever was about to be presented to them. We knew we wouldn’t let them down.

And we didn’t, and here’s why: my onstage rapist actually, and I am not kidding, PLAYED THE RAPE SCENE FOR LAUGHS. The dialogue is something like “come on, I love you!” and he was sort of like, bouncing up and down and just saying it like it was a joke. The audience loved it. Meanwhile, I was acting out my own rape so, you know. I didn’t love it as much.

That’s mostly all! Somehow we got through it, and afterwards we had a party that everyone just referred to as the date rape party (not even on purpose, it wasn’t like a THEME, it was just a statement of fact. It was the party after the date rape play).

Taken at the date rape party. Obviously, my starring role had gone to my head.

We collected our $200 and started junior year refreshed.

Catherine: I think we’re about to get judged, and hard, because I too was in the date rape play, different cast. Same deal. Everyone in the cast was friends, the rehearsals were a total joke, and we learned that rape could (and should) be funny if it was meant to entertain. I played WINNIE – not Willow – BUT WINNIE. The character was based off the person at our school who actually had that job, and hadn’t had the foresight to get a name change before beginning her life of ridicule stemming from her truly ridiculous name. Someway, SOMEHOW, this first paid acting gig did not deter me from pursuing acting (SHUT UP). Perhaps it is responsible for the fact that I only do comedy, though.

To the best of my knowledge, they still do this show every year. To the knowledge of my knowledge, I still say “You got the look girl, WORK IT!” every year, at least once.

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Trekking Through Hell

Jana: School started this week. And this morning, for the first time in a long time, I cut myself shaving.

This experience, and all of the experiences that come with this time of year – cooler weather, moving, change-related anxiety – reminded me of a time, in the year 2004, when I made a weird, bad choice that made me sad and uncomfortable. In that way, it wasn’t unusual, but it still warrants a blog post.

To start this story, I have to tell you that I only got into one college. Despite being a nearly straight-A student in high school, having totally decent SAT scores, and writing an essay containing a whimsical story about my deep-seated feminism, I was wait-listed by my two top choice schools. This threw me into, first, a long session of sobbing, and next, an overly-ambitious period of attempted positivity. I remember just crying and crying, while choking out the words “I’ll just go to UVM, it’ll be fine, UVM will be fine, I’ll be fine…”

Anyway, I did go to UVM. And in an attempt to embrace the experience that was being forced upon me, I decided to take the bull by the horns and sign up for the pre-orientation week-long wilderness trip option, called TREK. Clearly, I did not think this through. In my mind, it was the only way: I had to do this, to make the most of college, to make friends and LOVE COLLEGE AND IT’S FINE I DIDN’T GET INTO SKIDMORE. The rational thoughts, like, hey Jana, you don’t LIKE camping or the outdoors or building trails – those weren’t ones that I had. Not even for a second. I just bought a wilderness backpack and arrived in the UVM gym, ready to go.

This is the picture on the TREK website. Like. Did I think I belonged in this group?

I’ll also note here that I was still dating my high school boyfriend, and we had decided to stay together even though he was still in high school and I was traveling away to Vermont. So I arrived at the UVM gym, wearing wilderness pants and a wilderness backpack and a baseball hat, desperately sad to be without my boyfriend.

The week was like this: I was sad. My group’s job was to BUILD A TRAIL, and to accomplish this we had to hike really far up a mountain, set up camp, and then spend every day doing hard manual labor like moving giant rocks and carrying large pieces of wood. I was the worst at this. Because OF COURSE I WOULD BE THE WORST AT THIS. I didn’t actually speak most of the time, but inwardly, I felt intensely sorry for myself.

I also want to mention a specific element that made the week especially painful. Ok, Listen. I FORGOT TO BRING CHAPSTICK. For those of you who know me, you’ll understand that I keep chapstick on me at all, ALL, times, and apply it approximately every fifteen minutes. When I don’t have it for a day, my lips become weird and gross, with little skin flakes on them that then fall onto my shirts – you know? You know. So, picture those lips multiplied by one whole week. The thing was, I probably could have asked to borrow some chapstick on the first day, but by the time the situation had gotten bad enough that I really considered doing it (I like, eyed people while mentally rehearsing the question), my lips were so disgusting that I knew no one would ever share with me. Or love me. It was awful.

Some days, in the afternoons, we were given “free time” and allowed to go on recreational group hikes instead of working on the trail. During those times, I always, always claimed to feel sick so that I could lie in my tent alone and cry about missing my boyfriend. Those were the most enjoyable moments of the week. I cherished them.

So yeah, it was hell. When the week mercifully ended, we all piled into the van to drive back to campus, and stopped for lunch at a fast food place. In the bathroom of the restaurant, I think that I actually laughed when I saw my face and how disgusting it was. Like a monster had taken over my mouth. New friends? Anyone?

As an addendum, know that when we finally made it back to campus and I got to take a shower, I was overly-enthusiastic about shaving my legs and cut myself so deeply that I had to run to my RA’s room to A) introduce myself while crying and B) beg her for band-aids (she gave me three, which was not enough). As a result of this wound, all of my jeans from that first month of college have a little blood stain on the spot where they touched the cut. It’s a fitting memorial.

Here’s an email I sent to my dad shortly afterwards:

I’m sure mom told you about my gigantic shaving wound. It is crazy, i dont even want to think about how i did that it makes me cringe. I dont think i will shave for a while – at least its almost fall. Oh well. it is healing so no worries, and i put neosporin on it today so it shouldnt get infected or anything.

Happy Back To School!

Catherine: I too have a debilitating chapstick addiction, so being without it for a week is obviously the thing that terrifies me most about this prospect. Not like I wanna quote Leann Rimes, but “HOW DO I LIVE WITHOUT YOU.” That whole song, lyric for lyric, encapsulates precisely how I feel about chapstick.

Can I also direct everyone to the TREK photo for a moment – look at the man in baseball cap, second from the right. Is this really THE BEST picture they could find? Homeboy looks MIS.ER.ABLE. and photoshopped in all at the same time.

And one more thing – for the past like, ten times I’ve shaved my legs, I have cut myself shaving. Including cuts on BOTH FEET from dropping my razor on them. I’m getting worse with age, guys.

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Six Miniature Tales All Rolled Over and One Fell Out

Jana: Recently I was talking on the phone with my boyfriend, and he told me about his Friday night. “Pretty standard, just had a beer and a shower and watched part of Wall-E and fell asleep,” he said. A beer and a shower? Or a beer IN the shower? Oh yeah, it was a shower beer. This reminded me of the only time that I’ve tried this “shower beer” thing. Here’s what happened: I bought six raspberry beers on a Friday afternoon. Feeling like hey! I’m an adult who can do what I want!, I brought one into the shower with me. Within two minutes, I reached for it with a slippery, wet hand, and the bottle broke and there was glass everywhere and I had to get out of the shower and carefully step over the glass and then get dressed and clean it up immediately.

Catherine: Jana, I recommend you try shower beers again, perhaps with a can this time? It’s an exquisite experience and I don’t want your brokenglassplosion to deter you. But more importantly, this reminded me of the first time I ever shaved. I was in middle school, taking a bath (I only took baths until I got to college – I often would put in a CD, something like Missy Elliott or Alanis Morissette’s Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie – and listen to the entire thing and THEN get out. I also had a little remote for my CD player so I could skip tracks if I wanted. I have since learned these patterns are highly irregular.) BUT ANYWAYS  – I took my mom’s razor and shaving cream and shaved my legs. Blood going EVERYWHERE. But I didn’t stop there, I also shaved my stomach (???) and my arms. Bleeding. Surprised I didn’t bleed out.

Jana: Catherine. I cannot believe that you shaved your stomach. That is too good, and I am never going to stop picturing it, and next time we’re together I’m going to need to feel your stomach and see if it has weird stubbly hair on it because of this shaving incident?

Anyway, this reminds me of something that happened to ME with sharp things and blood! This past Monday, I went to the dentist for a regular teeth cleaning. It was standard: the hygienist prodded at me with that sharp metal tool they have, my gums gushed massive amounts of blood, she asked me questions knowing full well that it was impossible for me to answer while my mouth was stretched open. But then, her hand slipped and she dropped the sharp metal tool, and it hit my shoulder. “Oh lord, are you ok?” she asked quickly. I thought about my shoulder and couldn’t discern any issues, so I assured her I was fine. The examination continued, she told me I have a cavity and my gums are frighteningly weak, I left. No big deal.

But then the next morning I woke up and there was a little weird pimple-like dot on my shoulder, and it hurt. So what I’m saying is: I think I’m fine, let’s not get alarmed. But, I did go to the dentist for an average, normal, human visit, and ended up being stabbed and likely having MY OWN TOOTH GERMS injected into MY SHOULDER.

Catherine: I’ve never had a cavity! But I think I need to get my wisdom teeth pulled, meaning that I definitely do, a dentist told me, but I’m putting it off because it will cost me $28976048237604 and I don’t have that money (this is the same reason I am ignoring my last mechanic’s assertion that “your brakes don’t really work” before handing me a work order for $600 which I scoffed at.) But anyways, when I was growing up, my dentist had a thick Italian accent and referred to me as “Little Miss Muffet”. I don’t think he ever called me by my name, ever. He also refused to give me braces when I desperately wanted them, a behavior that confuses me on both my and his part.

Jana: Maybe he didn’t give you braces because you have straight teeth and didn’t need them, Cath. That would be my educated guess. But, ah well. Yes, childhood. Remember playdates? There is one from my childhood that I remember quite well for its simple agony. It was just a bike ride; on the Sunday after a sleepover, me, my friend, and my friend’s entire family went on a bike ride. I didn’t have a bike, but they had an extra one! So, I borrowed it. We biked for what felt like hours, and I was WAY behind and just SWEATING and working so, so hard to keep up. They yelled encouragement at me and I tried to act like it was fine and not draw attention to myself. When the ride somehow came to an end, it was discovered that there was essentially no air in the tires of  the bike I had been so kindly loaned, thus making my pedaling job as difficult as lifting huge weights with my tiny, weak legs. Everyone felt bad and apologized to me. I don’t remember feeling much of anything except just sheer exhaustion from continually being alive and in some variation of this scenario.

Catherine: I would like to VERY BRIEFLY tell of one of the first days I was still learning to ride a bike. I was in the elementary school parking lot and heading towards a wall and couldn’t stop, so I hit it full speed. The pain was intense. My brother ran to me to help but I was so humiliated that I pretended I was fine as tears welled up in my eyes and I handed him Swedish Fish from the brown paper bag that I had in my basket. This has been a theme of my life, pretending I’m fine as I’m about to cry and eating to mask the pain. Shit just got real, y’all. This blog is DEEP.

See? We’re deep. Also creepy, vacant, and wearing a see-through dress and a fluorescent necklace.

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Vehicle-Related Misfortune: Part 1 of One Million

Jana: Alright, guys. The time has come to talk about my cars.

I’ve been avoiding this post because there is just SO MUCH to say. I would think about writing it and suddenly become overwhelmed with memories of all the terrible things that have happened to cars I have owned, and think, how could that ever work? Think of the subheadings! There’s just no way.

So, today I have decided to start by telling you two little stories. Gradually, as time goes on and I heal from the more recent incidents, I will share those with you as well. Just to pique your interest (PIQUE! That word is spelled cooler than it has a right to be, or perhaps I am spelling it wrong?), here is the list I am working from:

PT Cruiser:

– Tires slashed

– Towed (while on a first date)

– Eventually destroyed by electrical damage (father’s fault)

Honda Fit:

– Rear-ended and pushed into car in front of me (damage to front and back)

– Plow backed into me destroying front of car (plow driver screamed at me)

– Towed

– Towed (one week after first towing)

– Window smashed

– $300 in tickets accumulated from expired parking permit

– $600 ticket acquired after driving into a construction zone, in a tunnel, at midnight

As you can see, my car life has been fraught with tears, near-death experiences, and the expenditure of vast amounts of money. But, let that all go! For now, let’s just focus on the first and third items on the PT Cruiser list.

So, yes! I owned a PT Cruiser. It was black, like all good mini-hearses should be, and it came to be mine when I inherited it from my Aunt, a wonderful woman who was so wackily awesome that when she decided to buy a new car in her 70s, she bought a PT Cruiser because she thought it was weird and cool. And then I got it, and I also thought it was weird and cool, despite what all of my friends said.

Here is a picture of the car that I had! Keep in mind that mine was, just in general, more disgusting-looking. I didn’t clean it much/ever, etc, and I’m certain that the sunset was never able to be reflected in its hatchback.

Anyway, I had it for three years. During its third year, in January of 2010, it was seriously injured for the first time. Here’s what happened: I lived in Allston. I had taken a week off from work for the holidays, and on Monday the 2nd of January I got up to go back to the office and face the world. I was already feeling anxious, like I always do after a vacation from anything – for some reason, it always feels like probably I’ve been fired while I was away and when I get there it will become really clear that I’m not supposed to be there and everything will be terrible. So, I was feeling anxious on this particular morning as I agonized over an outfit, picked something stupid, and got in my car.

I remember that the car definitely felt a little weird, but I was tired and have no common sense, so I kept driving. BUT THEN, suddenly, I was on the highway, and my car was no longer a functioning entity. Strangely, it felt like it had no wheels – like I was now driving a cardboard BOX, with CARDBOARD wheels. It was, essentially, a living nightmare.

So what I did was, I started to cry, because that is my instinct in any situation of nearly any kind. Somehow, I made it to the next exit and managed to pull into the parking lot of a Bertucci’s. There, through my panicked tears, I made the crucial discovery that both of my back tires … had been slashed. Not just cut a little, you guys: SLASHED AS FUCK. It truly looked like someone had gone to town on them with a machete.

So that was that. I cried and waited for Triple A and they came and replaced my tires and I went to work three hours late. And then I continued to live in that Allston apartment for another year, never knowing why someone had chosen to slash my tires. I didn’t really question it, honestly, as it just seemed sort of par for the course, my life-wise. But, to answer your questions, yes there were other cars in the driveway I had been parked in; no, none of them appeared to have slashed tires, and yes it did seem like a very personal attack but like, does someone hate me? I chose to think it was just god reminding me again that I’m not a “winner.”

Time for the second story, in which the PT Cruiser meets its demise.

First, the only picture I could find in which I’m driving the Cruiser. It’s fitting that I look hideous here – obviously, on this day I chose not to wear any makeup, and to wrap a weird thin scarf around my gross dirty-looking head. But there we are! Me and the car.

One Sunday afternoon in the fall of 2010, I was at my parent’s house, and my car was parked in the driveway. The whole family was just hangin out, but then my sister, who has hawk-like car-vision, looked out the window and noticed that my car’s right front headlight was cracked. “Jana, did you get in an accident?” she asked me. I was like, um NO, what the fuck! So we ran outside, all of us: me, my sister, my mom, and my dad. Sure enough, the damn thing was cracked! How could this have happened! I was racking my brain for some kind of collision that I’d potentially blacked out, my mom was saying things, my sister was saying things. It was so weird! This went on for about five minutes before my dad, who had been silent all this time, said simply:

“I did it.”

DADDDD. So yeah, it turned out that my dad had borrowed my car and rammed it into a pole in a parking garage, and then deliberately told no one because he thought he could get away with it. WHICH HE ALMOST DID. Because he KNEW that I would never, ever notice that my headlight was cracked, and he didn’t feel like dealing with it. Honestly, it was a brilliant move.

When I brought the car in to have the headlight replaced, I learned that the crack had let in a whole bunch of water, thus causing very expensive electrical damage throughout the car (or whatever, I have no idea about anything except that it cost a lot). This led me to purchase a brand new car (with the help of my sweet father), which I would later come to systematically destroy.

Catherine: Jana, you forgot about that time we were driving up to Burlington for New Year’s Eve and we hit some ice and did a 180 on the highway. You silly girl… and luckily there were no cars coming otherwise we would have died? And we slowwwwwly got the car going again and turned it around? This all was before we had a terrible time and made resolutions that we of course did not keep.

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Miniature Revenge

Jana: I had dinner with my parents on Sunday and my dad told me this short story:

I have an older sister – about a year and a half older, but when we were kids it felt like much, much more. There was a hierarchy that existed in all of our activities (one “game” I recall involved her giving me ten seconds to run downstairs and sharpen a pencil. She’d stand at the top of the stairs and be like: “You have TEN SECONDS. GO!” and I’d be like “AHHH” and run as fast as I could, fearing whatever it was that might happen if I didn’t complete the task in time), and this hierarchy was made even more evident when our playing involved other kids her age. Naturally, the girl who lived next door was also an older kid – a year older than my sister, thus making them a team of older kids – and the three of us hung out a lot.

I mostly remember really, really wanting to play with them, and often getting told to leave them alone. But, sometimes they needed me. I think they needed me for situations like the following:

– To retrieve balls that had been thrown deep into bushes

– To play the lower-status person in pretend games

– To be the monkey in monkey-in-the-middle (THIS IS HELL)

– To generally have someone to boss around

Still, I craved their attention, and gladly took on these roles again and again. But my dad recalls that one day, we had all been playing outside until, for some reason, I’d been banished back to our house. So, I was hanging out alone in the “play room,” probably re-reading “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” and blowing my nose. Suddenly, my sister and the neighbor burst into the house. “Jana! Come play with us!” they said. And – now this was a real moment for me – I think I finally knew what was up. They didn’t really want to PLAY with me, they just NEEDED me for some shit job. So I was like, “ok guys, be out in a minute!”, and waited until they’d gone back outside. Then I turned to my dad and said in a whispered tone: “…. I’m not going.”

Catherine: Jana, little Jana, speaking a secret in a whispered tone. This to me must be what heaven is like. I never had experiences like this growing up with my older brothers, I think maybe I was so awesome that they really did want to play with me? Or maybe no. Maybe this is what they were doing the whole time, all along, and this post is helping me to see the light… I choose to live in blissful ignorance.

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Adventures in Summer Misery

Jana: How’s everyone’s summer going? Good, yeah? Does everyone love summer?

That’s so great. Unfortunately, I really hate summer. Summer has always scared me because A) I’m anxious all the time, so the anxiety doubles when there’s no structure in my life and B) I’m not an adventurous, fun person, which becomes much more obvious to those around me during the summer. Any other time of year, it’s fine to suggest activities like going to the movies, reading next to each other at coffee shops, or staying inside to eat. But in the summer, people want to be outside! Every person in the facebook universe has spent the weekend at the beach! Everyone is tan and happy, while I am pale, scared, and sad. It’s a nightmare.

This is true now, but it was also true in my childhood. As a child, summer signified the coming of thunderstorms (definitely a sign from god that something terrible is about to happen, and yes I know most people find them cool and exciting), the end of sitting in class and feeling useful and interesting, and, of course, CAMPS. Ohhhh day camps. Ohhh you miserable organizations reeking of suntan lotion, spilled juice, and tears. Ohh god meeting new people. No no no no no. Please don’t make me go.

But, I did have to go. And sometimes I went to theater camps, which was ok. But one summer, for some reason that I CANNOT FATHOM, my parents signed me up for something called “Adventure Camp,” hosted by our town’s rec department. Why I agreed to this in the first place I really and truly cannot say. Why I did not start screaming at the mention of “adventure” makes absolutely no sense to me now. But, somehow, I was enrolled, and I attended. And it was hell.

I went with my best friend at the time, a similarly non-adventurous and awkward kid. Obviously, we were outcasts from the start. My main memory of this is arriving late, having almost forgotten my lunch or something, and desperately running across hot pavement in order to stand in line while attendance was called, all the while terrified that I’d forget my name or forget how to say “here” or that I’d just drop dead from all the pressure. Once I survived that, it was on to trust falls, in order to build up the group dynamic. This was, obviously, terrible. Nothing is worse than trust falls with a bunch of kids who definitely think you are very weird.

The two-week ordeal consisted of more trust falls, various physical drills, and then a full-on ropes course, including a zip line. I hated and feared every minute of it. But there was one redeeming factor: a sweet, cute, male counselor who took pity on me and joked around with me, making me feel like less of a total loser. One day, during lunch, this awesome counselor was getting everyone all riled up over some mind-game riddle thing he’d told us. It was one of those things where he was like, “I’m going on a trip, and I’m gonna bring a tree but not a forest,” and everyone had to be like, “well can you bring a monkey?” and he’d be like, “not a monkey but I will bring a carp,” and everyone was  like “WHATTTT!” and he was like, figure it out. So, I could not figure it out, but I was having fun participating, which was rare. I got really into badgering him to tell me the secret answer, and he finally did on the condition that I promised not to tell anyone else. WE WERE BUDDIES. It was great.

After lunch, I told my one and only friend the secret riddle solution. And then, she must have told someone else! I don’t know what happened! All I know is that my buddy friend counselor cornered me later and was like, jokingly, “I thought I could trust you, kid!” And I thought: Oh My God, my life is over. I was mortified, and tried desperately to explain that I had really, really, really meant to keep the secret. In my desperation I believe that I almost cried, or potentially that I did actually cry.

Looking back, I can see that this counselor obviously did not give a fuck about this situation. But at the time, it felt very monumentally disappointing and upsetting and embarrassing.

Somehow, the weeks continued. I zip-lined and ropes-coursed and hated it, went to sleep in fear, and then woke up and did it again, until the damn camp was over. I don’t remember how I left things with counselor friend buddy, but I can assume that our relationship was very compromised by my severe overreaction to the weird game thing.

So there you have it. I do not like summer, or adventure, and I cry at inappropriate times. If anyone wants to do something fun, it would be best not to call.

Catherine: Poor, poor Jana. Jana, who hates the beach, but who cannot deny that she actually has fun while she is there as long as she is huddled beneath an umbrella with a beer and a book, and an equally pale me by her side.

SEE HOW HAPPY YOU WERE??!

SEE HOW HAPPY YOU WERE??!

Summer has been hard for you for awhile, it seems? Tragic. I can see that this particular camp played perfectly to your weaknesses and probably caused damage that we continue to see the effects of. I wish I could go back in time to your scared Janaself and tell you to CHILL OUT, but I imagine your Janaself  would just blink in confusion and try to give me a bobby pin.

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