Locked in Like Animals

Catherine: Oh hai. I know I promised you facebookers I’d have this story to you this past weekend, but guess what? JANA WAS IN TOWN so I didn’t have time to write because our lives were falling apart together for once. Nothing terribly disastrous happened, you’ll be sad to know. The nearest disaster was avoided so, mischief managed.

Anyways.

Last week I was on Lake Tahoe. More specifically, I was NOT on Lake Tahoe, but I was on Donner Lake. Of the Donner party, which you may recognize as the last known example of cannibalism in the United States. I’m not sure what that has to do with my story, other than it’s a pretty bad thing, and perhaps will help to set the stage as it were. Anyway, I was with a group of old friends, reunion-style, and we were staying at Donner Lake for a week to drink too much and get sunburns on the backs of our (my) legs.

We’re going to get into some sexy stuff, guys, so if you’re not up to it, OR IF YOU’RE MY MOTHER, stop reading.

We still here?

Mom, go away.

Ok.

I was at the supermarket in a little group trip to stock up on snacks and food for our mini army of 10 people. I very discreetly snuck away as we checked out as a group – “I forgot something! How SILLY of me!” And ugh, I hate this story. I hate telling it. Maybe you hate reading it.

But I needed to get like, UGH, condoms. UGH. SO ANYWAYS. I went to the aisle I had seen them in and reached up. But – they were locked up, like little sex prisoners. I was displeased. I went to the pharmacist stationed nearby and very meekly asked, “Uh, um” (dies inside) “How do I get … in there” (I point ashamedly in the general direction, I am not mature, not at all.) Without so much as giving two shits, the pharmacist calls over the intercom “Customer assistance, aisle 8.”

Me, carrying pickles, moments before the incident.

Not one minute later, the teenage boy with the Bieber cut who had been bagging my groceries saunters – like, really saunters – down the aisle. At the moment of impact (having arrived at the um, ‘penis covers’), ANOTHER employee, in her 50s, disgruntled, arrives.

“Whatdya need?”

“Hi, um, yeah, I needed some of the ………………. condoms.”

“Which ones?”

(Points, dies inside, teenage boy smirks)

The woman reaches up and retrieves them. Without so much as a key. No key needed. SPOILER ALERT: THEY WEREN’T LOCKED UP AT ALL. I AM JUST REALLY STUPID. I had not been able to get them down, not because they were locked up, but because I am terrible and not very bright.

The woman laughs, “They weren’t locked up.”

“Yeah, yeah, ok. I want to die, like, ok.”

“We’ll be talking about this in the breakroom later!”

“Oh, yeah? Cool…”

The teenage boy and I walk back towards the registers together because it’s a grocery store and there aren’t emergency exits for when you embarass yourself less for having sex than for being an idiot. As we pass the self check-out, I call to the boy, just behind me, “I’m just gonna do the self-checkout. I want to die right now.” (verbatim, guys.) He laughs at me, pointedly.

The self-checkout is packed, as it would be, but I spy an open register and throw the (cough) CONDOMS on the thingymajig JUST as the teenage boy saunters by (seriously, kid was a serial saunterer.) “Self-checkout, huh?” Cue him laughing, sauntering away. Cue him also probably thinking, “Does she know she has zits on her mouth right now? Like, 70? Poor girl.”

And scene.

Jana: This story makes me want to kill myself.

Here is a penis drawn on my leg LATER THAT DAY. I turned it into a cat.

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To The Woman Currently Cutting My Hair: Are You Paying Attention?

Jana: Recently, I got a haircut. If it’s alright with you, I’d like to tell you about the full experience of my haircut.

 
At 6 AM on the day of the haircut, I got up and drove my boyfriend to the airport, as he was leaving to move to Los Angeles. Then I came home and lay in bed being sad for a while. At 11:30 AM, I roused myself, ate three pieces of toast, and got in the car to meet my sister, because we had purchased “Living Social” deals to get haircuts for only $20, and we had thought it might be a nice activity for the day that would help me take my mind off my boyfriend moving and my having no money and no real plan for my life. I was encouraged by the thought of the haircut.

I need to note that my encouragement was a product of that pesky human inability to accurately remember pain (my best example of this is eating hummus only ten minutes after having been on the toilet bargaining with God because of hummus-induced problems. Once it’s over, I’m always like, it wasn’t so baaad. Ooo is that Sabra? What kind of crackers do you have?). Because, when I’m being honest with myself, I’m fully aware that I always have a terrible time at a haircut. The conversation between me and the hairdresser is a lot like this, always:

Hairdresser: Let’s see here. Oh woah, so we’ve got some serious split ends.

Me: I know, yeah.

Hairdresser: You really need to stop straightening your hair. This is really damaged! If you don’t drastically change your lifestyle, it’s going to be damaged forever.

Me: I know, yes, you’re right.

Hairdresser: And oh my god, such little hair! It’s so so thin!

Me: Yeah, it’s really thin.

Hairdresser: Ok, I’ll see what I can do but I can’t make any promises! *Laughs*. So, are you excited to start high school in the fall?

 

Then they cut off the split ends and try to make conversation which I try to deflect with silence; then, I pay them $60 and go home to furiously straighten the hair.

But, on the day of this haircut, those memories were all rose-colored. Off we went to our haircut with tear-stained faces (just mine, my sister was fine) and hopeful hearts.

It was a very hot day, so we were excited to get inside to an air conditioned room. We ran across Mass Ave and into the salon and found it… stale. Terribly, terribly hot, and empty save for one girl getting her hair cut by a strange-looking man who was wearing a T-shirt that said “I’m just here to annoy you.” We approached the front counter, where a woman stood looking over some papers. She completely ignored us. “Hello?” we tried. She was obviously pissed that we were there. “Busy now, you can sit over there,” she said (it became clear at this moment that she was some kind of European foreign, which I’m only saying to accurately set the scene). We didn’t know what else to do, so we went and sat over on the weird-looking bench. From that vantage point, I could now see the woman’s full person:

This was an older lady, maybe in her late 60s, with cropped white hair, which is fine and good. She was wearing a somewhat ill-fitting dress that really highlighted her stomach paunch, which is also nothing I’m ever gonna get on a high horse about (am I right ladies? – sorry, I don’t even know what that joke was). But ok, HERE IS THE KICKER: on her feet, she was wearing those shoes that have the individual toes. I don’t even know that you can really call them shoes, but regardless, I’ve always understood them to be designed exclusively for endurance running. And yet, this woman wore them in her hair salon, paired with a dress. Furthermore, the shoes appeared to be wet.

You heard me. They were wet. As if she’d recently been walking in some sort of river.

Despite the shoes, we stayed. My sister was soon taken in for haircutting by the “Annoy you” t-shirt guy, who’d finished with the other girl. As I flipped through a magazine, I sensed from overhearing my sister’s conversation that the male hairdresser was in fact quite capable and normal; they laughed together as he cut her hair. I relaxed into the uncomfortable wooden-wicker bench.

Eventually, old Wet Shoes was ready for me, which she signaled by pointing – “Sinks, I meet you over there.” I went to the sinks.

Once we were there, in the familiar space of an awkward salon hairwashing, I sort of started to like her. She told me that she had just seen that movie “Hot Mike,” and that it was full of “beautiful bodies.” She explained that she’d been so rude earlier because she’d been trying to find an envelope full of something to do with taxes, and it had ended up being right in front of her. I got that, I’ve been there. I figured it would be ok.

And it was, such as it was, in that she did cut my hair and we did interact with only mild awkwardness. However, as we chatted, I couldn’t help but notice that she seemed to be really arbitrarily selecting pieces of my hair to cut. Juuust whatever. Just a piece here, a piece there. I didn’t see a PATTERN, see. In addition, TWICE during the haircut, someone came into the salon to ask her something, and she talked to these people WHILE SHE CUT MY HAIR, with her head fully turned away from what she was doing. So, I worried. But I was so TIRED and emotionally drained, and so sure of my inability to speak up for myself, that I just settled into it. I equate this situation to quietly agreeing to rent a HIDEOUS house that I’d have to live in for six months for fear of insulting the realtor. We live in our hair, is what I’m saying.

Then it was over. We tipped, we left. When I got home, it became very clear that my wet-shoed friend had cut a full layer of bangs all the way around my head. Like, an all-one-length layer. Left alone, this very closely resembles a mullet, or a poorly done version of the haircut Rachel had on “Friends.” But it’s ok! It’s just the way it is. I have a bang, around my head. And because hair grows at the same rate over time, I can only assume that this is how it will always be.

Like this.

PS. Right after the haircut I cried while eating half a pizza and then fell asleep watching “Something Borrowed.” Just to be clear about the day.

Catherine: If there’s one thing I like to make fun of besides Jana’s allergies, it’s her hair. It defies gravity. It has been known to fight the strongest straighteners, the firmest tugs of the comb, and emerge victorious, standing straight up on Jana’s head like a crown.

It’s incredible.

Jana, you gotta stop cutting your hair. You do it all the time, it never looks different, and you’re always really sad afterwards. This story, I hope, will teach you to steer clear for at LEAST a year. You don’t deserve the pain. You simply don’t.

And also, you should have been tipped off by the toe shoes. Those are disgusting. The only thing I hate more are probably Tevas, shoes that look like Tevas, and birkenstocks with socks. It’s in the top five worst shoe – I would’ve walked out then and there.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST – Jana and I will be reunited again next week! Maybe something horrible will happen? It probably will. We’ll let you know.

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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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Celebrity DJs, Strip Clubs, and Jason: A Love Story

Hey Guys! Cathy and I are going to a wedding this weekend, so we’ve spent most of the week being anxious about that and anticipating being embarrassed there. As a result, we haven’t had time to write any blog posts… but luckily, WE KNOW JASON! So, on this Friday in June, we present him again, here, for you. Enjoy!

Jason: When I was in the second grade there was a pretty girl that I liked, so I poked her with a pencil because I was too scared to talk to her. Well, eventually I learned how to talk to girls, but what I still haven’t learned how to do is talk to celebrities.

“Why can’t you talk to celebrities?” you’re probably saying to yourself, “they’re just like us! I read US Weekly, they take to the beach in unflattering bathing suits, they shop for groceries, they pump their own gas, they chew food.” These are the things we like to tell ourselves about celebrities, and my question to you is this: do you actually believe that stuff? I mean, when you’re being honest with yourself do you REALLY think that Brad Pitt is “just like you” because he (allegedly) chews his food? Maybe you do, and if so then good for you, because I sure don’t. Celebrities are better than us, dammit. They eat for free at restaurants that they don’t have to wait in line at, they fly to the shopping center in their private jets and they’re paid exuberant amounts of money to prance around for our amusement. Maybe they’re not better than you, I didn’t mean to insult your fragile pride, but they’re damn sure better than me.

Upon spotting a celebrity my blood pressure rises. My mouth goes dry, I can hear the violent thumping of my heart, I feel like a lion staring at a particularly haughty zebra or a young lover about to touch his first supple breast. Usually my juvenile reaction to seeing a celebrity is pretty benign. There was the time that I saw Kevin from the office in line at a Los Angeles deli: I stood six inches away from him staring awkwardly as he bought his sandwiches until, putting his arms protectively around his children, he gave me a dirty look and headed for the door. Sometimes though, my internal second grader takes over and I just can’t control myself, like the time I pulled over and double-parked in Boston traffic in front of the old House of Blues to scream “Sipowicz! Hey! Sipowicz!” at Dennis Franz until he eventually flipped me off and, giggling, I jumped back in my car and drove away.

These stories are all innocent enough when compared to my greatest showdown. You may not know this about me, but I used to enjoy frequenting strip clubs. A lot. There are probably another ten or so entries that I can devote solely to this aspect of my life, but it’s not really relevant here. What IS relevant is that there was one club in particular that I would frequent regularly, where all the bouncers and bartenders knew me pretty well (because I was so awesome…) and I would spend the majority of my time and paycheck there.

Here it is: The Cabaret Lounge (maybe. I don’t know if this is the same place. Here is a picture of a place called the Cabaret Lounge that may or may not be relevant).

Well, I walked in one night and took my usual seat at the stage (I know, I know…) and across from me I happened to see Nick Carter. No, not the Backstreet Boy Nick Carter – I’m referring to the popular Boston disc jockey from the late 90’s early 2000’s Nick Carter. Here’s the thing, you can debate the “celebrity” of a local DJ all you want, but the guy had millions of listeners, and the most important thing to keep in mind is that I was one of them. I would listen to his station, WBCN, every time I was in the car and I genuinely enjoyed listening to him. Now, I’m sitting there, in my seat at my favorite place ever and I’m staring directly at a man who has entertained me for hours upon countless hours as I sat in traffic. How did I handle this situation? Well, I waited until he made eye contact with me and then at the top of my lungs I began to shout, across the stage, “Rocco rules! Rocco! Rocco! Rocco!” Rocco being Nick Carter’s rival drive-time disc jockey on a radio station that I had literally never tuned into. The only reason I knew Rocco’s name is because Nick used to make fun of him on the air. So I continue doing this for probably about five minutes, chanting his rival’s name and screaming out the call letters to a rival station that I had never even listened to, until I see Nick get up from his seat to go, presumably, to the bathroom. About one minute later every bouncer in the club surrounded my seat.

“Was that you that was screaming ‘Rocco’ over and over again?” asked Kenny, a mammoth of a man I happened to know fairly well due to all the quality time we spent together looking at boobies.

“Probably,” I sheepishly replied, ready to be beaten to death.

“Come with me.” He said and led me, escorted by an entourage of terrifying Sons of Anarchy extra types, to the club’s back room.

“Do you know why Nick Carter is here?” Kenny asked me.

“Tits?” I said, still trying to be charming.

“He’s here because Joey here is trying to get his demo tape on the air. How would you feel, Joey, if Nick didn’t want to do that for you now?”

“Bad.” Said Joey, who was approximately 5 feet tall, 200 pounds, and had a face that looked like it had been beaten with an iron in the delivery room.

“I’d feel bad too.” I said.

Joey said nothing, he just stood there being ugly and scary. This was followed by probably 30 seconds of silence in which I was pretty sure were going to be followed by horrible pain, followed by death.

“You spend a lot of money here.” Said Kenny, finally. “And I like talking to you too. Man, if you were someone we didn’t know you’d already be gone. Fuck. Joey, if he apologizes to Nick do you think he can stay?”

“I guess so.” Said Joey, who I was starting to realize maybe wasn’t so ugly after all.

So we all headed back out to the main floor of the club. I walked around to the side of the stage that Nick Carter and his friends were sitting at and I saw Nick look from me to Kenny, who nodded at him.

“Hey, man.” I said.

“What’s up?” said Nick.

“I just wanted to tell you that I’m a really big fan and I listen to you every day.”

Then we kind of just stared at each other for awhile before he asked me, “If you’re a fan of MINE then why the fuck were you screaming ‘Rocco’ over and over again?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t know what else to do, I thought it would be funny, right?”

“No.”

“Okay, well I’m really sorry. Rocco sucks. Next time I see you I’ll just come say ‘hi’.”

“Cool.”

“Enjoy your night.”

“You too,” he said, “thanks for coming over.”

“You’re welcome.”

I then went back to my seat and drank a lot of beer and saw a lot of boobs. The next day on the air Nick Carter recanted this story and referred to me as a jackass.

This has been my story about how I can’t talk to celebrities and how one time being a regular at a strip club probably saved my face from being beaten in. Dreams can come true. Thanks for reading.

Jana: I think my favorite character in this story is Joey, who would I would like to write a movie about. Like, what kind of music did Joey play? Why was he playing at a strip club? Do strip clubs also sometimes double as concert venues? The fact that he is 5 feet tall is also, of course, excellent. JOEY. WHERE ARE YOU NOW?

Catherine: I too share an affinity for Joey, who was not unlike Nick Carter (the real one, from Backstreet Boys.) Nobody really cared about him. It was a sad thing. All those poor guys didn’t grow up to be Justin Timberlake, and I think that’s something for everyone to feel bad about.

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Black Thursday, or, How I Learned That Vodka and Beer are Different Kinds of Things

Jana: As school is now out for the summer, I will tell you a summer tale.

It was 2002, the summer before my junior year of high school, and rebellion was in the air. In my early high school years, I was adamantly opposed to drinking. My opposition stemmed from my fear of change, as well as believing myself to be way above that stuff, not needing it to have fun, never wanting to grow up, etc. In my mind, the future consisted almost entirely of me reading on the green of the really good college I was going to get into, and I’d never had any desire to get drunk, even when my friends had casually brought it up as something they maybe wanted to try. “Seriously, I just don’t have any interest!” I’d been known to say when asked.

But on the 4th of July, 2002, the stars aligned. I was on an elimination diet started by my homeopathic doctor in order to figure out what I was allergic to, so I hadn’t had gluten in weeks and I weighed about one pound. My hair had been french braided, which somehow filled me with great confidence despite the extra frizz it created around the edges of my face. And we were at a pool party. People started drinking and I thought, naw. But then, my CRUSH started drinking. He’d always agreed with me about the not needing alcohol to have fun thing, but on this night, as we all sat around the host’s bedroom, he asked for a drink! I didn’t hesitate; I grabbed a beer.

All I know is that I had that one beer and the room got twirly and it was AWESOME. And I was like ok, this is fun, I’ve maybe never had so much fun. EVERYONE had SO MUCH FUN. The night ended, but the summer was just starting, and we all agreed that we wanted to do that again As Soon As Possible. We settled on the following Thursday. My crush himself offered to have everyone come drink in his basement – his parents would never come downstairs!, he assured us. We all agreed that it was a foolproof plan.

Someone got us alcohol, I’m not sure who (later we had regular suppliers, but at this point it must have been a lucky break). But various things were purchased, and we all headed over. It’s important to note that I was wearing cloth track pants on this night, and I was wearing them because I had so severely sunburned my ass the week before, while reading “The Joy Luck Club” at Walden Pond, that I was unable to pull jeans over it. Neither here nor there. We arrived, wearing cute summer clothes (everyone else) and cloth track pants (me), and started to drink. Now, listen to this:

WE DID NOT KNOW ABOUT ALCOHOL. No one had ever told us, in all of our 16 years, that there is a difference in alcohol content between beer and vodka. It just didn’t occur to us! So, while I was randomly lucky in my selection of beer, the majority of my friends were not so lucky. They held gatorade bottles full of vodka. JUST vodka. And they were drinking them. Rapidly.

About 2 beers into my night, and at least half of the gatorade bottles in for everyone else, the inevitable happened: the kid’s mom came downstairs. OBVIOUSLY. Here is what happened next: one of my friends threw up gum onto the pool table. Everyone else, also, needed to puke around this time. We poured out of the little basement door, most of us puking on the lawn and street. I’d only had two beers, or the equivalent of six beers, so I was the most sober, and I tried to collect people into a group. Where would we go? But then, a miracle! A guy who’d graduated two years ago was driving by, right at that moment. He stopped and piled us all into his car! I felt safe and happy, especially because there was another guy with him who I didn’t know and who I thought was PRETTY cute.

The older guys drove us to the playground of one of the local elementary schools. Before we arrived, my friends puked all over the backseat of the car, but the guys were really nice about it. When we got to the playground, we fell and pushed our way out of the car, and by now mostly everyone was crying. Deep-seated angers, dormant before the alcohol, came out big time. People were yelling, and accusing other people of things. I was sort of making a show of helping out (ie, “are you ok? you guys, come back here! you can’t just wander into the playground, I love you!”), but mostly I was flirting with the cute guy, who turned out to be a little bit foreign. He lent me his sweatshirt (to wear with my cloth sweatpants), so I was pretty happy.

In the end, knowing that there was nowhere else to turn, I called my parents. Being kind-hearted, they picked us all up, nursed us, and literally helped to pick puke out of people’s hair. The night was LONG. People slept all over the floors of my parent’s house in various stages of emotional and physical disarray. The next day, everyone was  still sick. Sitting on a bench on Mass Ave, I remember just wondering if we were all going to die.

Here I am later in my drinking life, in a self-taken, disposable camera shot. Beautiful, you say? Oh you stop it.

That summer included other adventures, like a night in which we all told our parents we were having sleepovers and then slept in a field (we thought this would be the best time EVER; in reality it rained and everyone fought and it was like, why did we think that would be fun? Plus my parents found out and grounded me). But in August, as we reflected on our summer of rebellion, the drinking day, a Thursday, was the most memorable. We decided to call the day “Black Thursday”, and the following year it was memorialized in everyone’s yearbook blurb (ie, “Love my GIRLS! BlackThursday, Other memories, etc.”). Black Thursday went down in high school history.

PS. The foreign, sweatshirt guy did call me and ask me on a date to the beach the next weekend. This filled me with such CRIPPLING anxiety that I spent the morning of our scheduled date pacing my house, circling the sandbox in our backyard, unable to eat. When he stood me up (he never even called), I was so, so relieved and happy. I remain relieved to this day. I’m certain that, at that stage in my life, a beach date with a cute foreigner would have actually killed me.

Catherine: What. A. Mess. I only WISH I couldn’t relate to this.

Pipe dreams.

We all have them.

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I Don’t Know You, But I’m Dying

Catherine: Were you around, dear reader, when I posted about Target? Yes? If you hated that post, don’t read on.

Two weekends ago, something bad happened. It caused me to actually PRAY TO GOD as it was transpiring, because I was in hell. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I was in a show on Saturday that rehearses basically all day. That morning, I stayed in bed a little longer than I should have cuddling with my cat, and as a result had no time to make a smoothie for breakfast. Instead, I grabbed two brownies from the pan I had made the night prior (shut up.)

When I got to rehearsal, my friend had brought in two dozen donuts. Friday had been “National Donut Day,” and I hadn’t had a SINGLE donut, so I had half a donut. Feeling bold, I ate the other half shortly after. Four hours later, I had eaten three and a half donuts.

I went home for break and heated up some leftover brussel sprout pasta and yes, had some more brownies.

Following our final part of rehearsal, I went out with some castmates and ordered a veggie plate with falafel. I didn’t eat most of it (because it came literally ten minutes after everyone had already finished basically,) but I ate the falafel. I then went back to the theater to await the show, and yes, I did have another part of a donut.

Come show time, as I’m waiting backstage, my stomach starts to be all like, “HEY. HEY YOU!” And I do my best to ignore her (my stomach is a she.) She won’t shut up, so I pop two extra strength tylenol.

The show begins.

After the opening, I sit down and start to SWEAT PROFUSELY. Why? BECAUSE I NEED TO GO. I am PANICKED. The show has started, and JESUSCHRIST, I don’t think I can get on that stage because my stomach is EXPLODING and it wants me to PAY ATTENTION.

I realize that I may not make it onstage. I realize I may have to run off the stage in the middle of a scene. MotherFUCK. I have no choice but to tell my scene partner, (WHOM I HAD ONLY JUST MET – The show has a rotating cast, so I’m constantly meeting new members) that I was not feelin’ so great. She took it like a champ but was all like, “I don’t know your lines!” Fair. She didn’t. I had to impress upon her, and now the OTHER girl in the scene standing there waiting to go on in 30 seconds, that I might have to leave the scene.

I made it through the scene by the SKIN OF MY TEETH, and promptly ran backstage to the bathroom, but not before informing yet ANOTHER new person in the show that, “If I’m not back in time for this sketch, cover me??!! I will try to make it back!”

Stomach explosions ensue.

I get back backstage. There is still time before my next sketch. I promptly run to the bathroom again.

This time, I literally PRAYED in the stall. “God,” I said, “I’m SORRY that I ate 5 donuts, 4+ brownies, pasta, and a falafel. I WON’T DO IT AGAIN. I know you wanted some vegetable, I know you like nutrition, AND I’M REALLY VERY SORRY.”

I run back to the show, just in time to go onstage for a short monologue I have to do. As I step into the light, I begin to speak and then – the pain strikes – and my mind goes blank. I fear that I am about to SHIT MYSELF in front of an audience. Needless to say, I forgot my lines. If you’ve never forgotten your lines onstage you 1) must not be me and 2) know that it is NOT a good feeling. It is verrrrrry bad.

Somehow, SOMEHOW, I made up something vaguely similar to what I was supposed to say, survived the monologue, and collapsed backstage into a chair. There, I contemplated how many more relative strangers I would have to warn “I am having issues and I may have to run offstage at a moment’s notice. Nice to have metcha, by the way!”

In lieu of a picture, here is the footage of this monolgue from youtube. Now that you know what was going on on the INSIDE, watch this at the 27:37 marker and you can re-live my horrible, horrible 20 second hell:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vnNtm4sGUg

The rest of the shower was a struggle. After it was over, I left the theater with a speed my body was utterly confused by – “Girl,” it said, “How you moving so fast after you ate all that shit today, huh? Why you do this?” I screamed back at it, “YOU MADE ME DO THIS. I am TAKING YOU HOME.”

Once home, still feeling horrible but only now with a LOT of self-loathing, I ate most of the rest of the brownies and watched “Young Adult,” which is a fucking stressful ass movie.

Jana: Catherine. I know there’s no need to point out the obvious, but … why did you get that falafel? WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? Falafel, while a dear gift to the earth, is also straight from the devil: we know this. We’ve learned this. I just… I can’t believe you didn’t text me for my input on that. NEVER A FALAFEL BEFORE YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING. That is quite legitimately something that I live by.

That said, I’m very sorry for what you went through. And I’m sorry that you decided to watch “Young Adult” when it was all over. Would that Patton Oswald could have been there to help you out, like he helped out Charlize Theron by weirdly sleeping with her. Although I can see how, in this situation, it would have been better if he’d just been around to burp you or something.

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How Did You All Get Here?: Relationship Edition

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s back! That’s right, people KEEP FINDING US without meaning to. And, those people keep on being just so very weird and troubled. They are dating losers, their friends sound like real jerks, and a lot of them appear to have cold sores. It is an honor to count them as our own.

Here, for you, are some of the most recent searches that directed people to our blog.

Actual Search #1: “can you get a cold sore from someone passing gas in your face”

Catherine: Why are you hanging around this person?? DID THIS REALLY HAPPEN TO YOU?

Jana: Ok first of all, no. That’s ridiculous. Secondly, let’s talk about this relationship. Was this whimsical, or was it cruel? Take a look at the situation and really assess. And then either way, probably, get out of it and never look back.

Actual Search #2: “what did i do in my past life to deserve not to have a boyfriend”

Catherine: This is so tragic. I want to reach out to you through the internet and hold your little hand. He’s out there! But he may be, or probably is, dating somebody else.

Jana: Oh noo. I’m so saaad. Person, you’re probably ok! But with that attitude, it’s just not gonna work out for you. Be less sad. You’re making me sad. Stop it.

Actual Seach #3: “will he love me with cold sores”

Catherine: Less so.

Jana: Yes! Yes! Yes! (not guaranteed).

Actual Search #4: “why do my friends tell me to be loving when my boyfriend is cold fuck it”

Catherine: You’re confusing me. Fuck what, exactly?

Jana: Your friends are wrong maybe? Or, what do you mean by “my boyfriend is cold”? If he’s cold as in, calls you names and beats you, then your friends are very wrong – don’t be loving, the guy’s an asshole! If he’s cold as in, doesn’t buy you diamonds, but does make you dinner, then maybe you’re just a bitch.

Either way, it seems like you’ve already made up your mind, as you didn’t even put any extra punctuation around “fuck it,” implying that you’ve just decided to fuck it with no hesitation.

Actual Search #5: “get drunk enough to call her”

Catherine: PUT THE PHONE DOWN. If you wanna talk to her so bad, call her sober. She probably doesn’t want to talk to you though, you sound like a real mess. Go eat a Snickers or something.

Jana: Good idea man. That’ll definitely work. Do it.

Actual Search #6: “how to get your first kiss in elementary school”

Catherine: JESUS Christ. If you aren’t even wearing a training bra, you need to apply the brakes. Chill the F out and watch some SpongeBob.

Jana: I am not qualified to address this question.

Actual Search #7: “can u give someone herpes if u suck their wily when u have a cold sore”

Catherine: This is too gross. I’m sure the answer is yes? And please don’t refer to that uh, thing, as a willy? And if you do, spell it right? But don’t call it that, ever. So actually don’t worry about the spelling. Refer to it as a “lollipop,” “hot dog,” or “cheese stick.” Food items work best, I find.

Jana: CATHY EW THOSE FOODS AS PENIS WORDS MAKES ME WANT TO DIE.

Reader: Yes, you can, so don’t do it. Also, if you call it a willy and you spell it wrong, you’re not even allowed to leave the house. You have to stay home alone, forever. Sorry.

Actual Search #8: “we had sex in a neck brace”

Catherine: On one? Wearing one? Too vague, but you have my attention.

Jana: Impressive.

Actual Search #9: “if your a straight guy in a bathroom and no one’s home what are some sexy hot and very naughty things you could do to your self”

Catherine: Learn to spell?

Jana: Why do you have to stay in the bathroom if no one’s home? Don’t punish yourself just because you don’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re.” Get out there and use those other rooms! But um, I have no idea what you should do in them. Usually when I’m home alone I make a bowl of brown rice and eat it in bed while watching stuff on Hulu?

Actual Search #10: “do we need to isolate with people who have cold sores?”

Catherine: Isolate with? No, that’s not a thing. Isolate, yes. Isolate people with cold sores, but if you are WITH them, that’s not isolation.

Jana: We’re not LEPERS, and this isn’t Nazi Germany, so NO. Let’s isolate with from YOU. YOU need to be isolated with. I dislike you.

BONUS SEARCH: “i’m allergic to dust and but not to cats”

Catherine: THANK GOD! How many cats do you have? I live with TWO cats. Do you have more cats?? Are they so cute and do they cuddle with you in the morning before work, often making you late?

Jana: Stop complaining? Go hang out with your cats and invest in some medical masks for when you have to dust stuff. Your life is awesome, so leave the google search alone.

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