Chaos House

Each week I tutor in my client’s neighborhood library.

“It’s a little shady” is what someone being kind and wearing blinders would say.

“Chaos House” is what the regulars call it.

Highlights Week 1: active drug dealing outside the front door; children’s area so loud we move to the adult area; adult side with most tables occupied by men of questionable residency, asleep or with hands down pants; physical altercation over a man refusing to pull up pants–including boxers–beyond his knees.

Week 2: Major Improvement! Drug dealers stopped (moved inside without drugs). Vomit next to table only issue.

Week 3: Joined at table by schizophrenic. Approached by stranger to fix her pictures so she can show her sister how fly she look.

Week 4: Children’s side features full hour of ukelele lessons for roaming band of 15 toddlers. Man sits at our adult table to empty every thing from his pockets and deconstruct electronics, then falls asleep. Overweight woman wearing three pairs of pants unable to secure a single pair, exposing everything from waist down to the troubadours and my 11 year old.

Through all this the Greek chorus of only moderately degenerate regulars narrates the scenes from the back table over the dulcet tones of their video poker.

If it wasn’t so sad, it’s be the perfect place for a reality show. In a way, it’s wonderful to see so many people use the library as a refuge. There are plenty of people just quietly sitting reading or using computers. But it is not a lounge for people who want to hang out, eat, talk on the phone, etc… And as great as is it to have children’s programs, there is no space there for quiet academic work. The staff turn a blind eye to everything but the fights and nudity, and even then it’s a half hearted warning. What’s a transitional neighborhood to do? Provide the services they’re meant to provide or cater to the needs of the most desperate and (unfortunately) reliable clientele?

Curl Up and Dye

For the first time in my life, I came home tonight and sobbed after a haircut. I’m not always pleased, but I’ve never cried. Which is odd, as I pretty much cry at least once a day.

This was a new place I decided to try because I had been trying for a month to get an appointment at my normal place (which was no longer convenient to my work) and there wasn’t going to be one with my usual stylist for at least another month. A new acquaintance recommended this place and even called and got me the appointment. Reviews online were overwhelmingly 5 star, save a few 1 star reviews railing against terrible cuts.

First of all, I went in blonde with clearly visible roots and wanted “blonde highlights so everything brightens up.” I showed 7(!) pics of my hair at its ideal color. Long story short, my hair is now uniformly brown. There’s dimension, but it’s brown dimension. Before she even finished blow drying she was starting to say how it takes a few days for the highlights to lighten and I could come back for more highlights if it wasn’t light enough.

What?!

I need to wait 3 shampoos to figure out if you did my hair right? Organic hair color is “exactly the same” until it’s not and screws up my hair. Please return my harmful chemicals and my lovely highlights.

And that was before the terrible cut. I had grown out my hair for 18 months and wanted about 2 inches off with some shape. Long story short, 5 inches, completely blunt all the way around. I said this when she finished and she did a few angles around the face but still totally blunt around the rest of the way. I of course wish I had spoken up more, but you second guess yourself when you’ve already spoken up and the expert says it’s done. I don’t even really know how it can be fixed. It’s too short now for long layers and any other shaping.

It’s not the end of the world of course. It may even seem fine tomorrow. It’s just so sad that all those months of growing are gone for something not even cute. And it makes me second guess myself as an adult (as always). Why can’t I communicate better what I want? Why can’t I speak up better in the moment. I feel like I did more than I would have in the past but still not enough. I think that environment just makes you feel like you need to trust the stylist (like the doctor, or masseuse, or nail technician, or mechanic…). We’re all conditioned to feel that speaking up = complaining = being rude vs. being assertive, and as someone who has a problem speaking up in general, it’s just that much harder in this type of situation. I don’t feel I was rude or out of line at all, but I also don’t feel I got what I want…

What is the best way to be sure you get what you want? And how do you find new stores when you move? I’ve bopped around to many salons by reading reviews and have never had this problem before. This time I even had a personal recommendation! I hated the hair of everyone in this place tonight, but that’s usually not a good signal because hair stylists are trendy. *(@#%*(&%(*$@##)&%@*%&@!!!!!! Why is everything so hard!

 

Valentine’s Day!

This is not a complaining-about-Valentine’s-Day post! This is actually kind of a what happened to Valentine’s Day post. V Day seemed forgotten this year. Maybe because I haven’t been in many schools or stores I didn’t see all the hoopla, but I didn’t hear much about it. I remember being annoyed about Valentine ads right after Christmas, because it was right after Christmas, but not much was discussed this week.

I wonder if there was so much written and tweeted about the depression of being single on Valentine’s Day that there ended up being a backlash?

If so, that’s sad because, if you can turn your focus away from couples making out and people who are so insecure they need to spend hundreds of dollars to eat a marked up dinner to feel loved, it’s such a fun holiday! Everything is glittery and pink! And hearts! And chocolate! And puns!

We should never give up a holiday that offers a chance to tell grandparents, friends, and small children you love them while eating thematically shaped chocolates.

Please enjoy some punny card collections:

Dictator Valentine’s

SVU

Printables! (some)

And a classic:

 

 

 

I’ve been “unconventionally employed” for over a year now. I left my stable job of almost 10 years to relocate and pursue other things that could basically all fall under the umbrella of self employment. I had something part time lined up when I left that job, and the first 6-9 months went really well, but since then it’s been drips and drabs of employment.

This is pretty much how I want it. Yes, there are times when I’m feeling sorry for myself and whine “I have no job, no boyfriend, no hopes for the future…” (Adding the no job to the no boyfriend rounds out the pathetic nicely.) But mostly, I want to work for myself and/or work part time to have time for my own pursuits. If that means I have to go awhile without a job, it’s ok. I have no major responsibilities right now, so why not wait to find something good.

The problem is everyone else. People can’t seem to even fathom any out of the ordinary life choices. It is universally assumed I am depressed and struggling, and it’s just so hard to believe I can’t find something, and why don’t I network more, and someone’s cousin’s uncle heard the McDonald’s an hour away is hiring so why don’t I call them. This was the case even when I had my part time gig. The job was unorthodox, and people constantly responded “oh, that’s interesting. Want me to give your name to X in case they’re hiring?”

No, I don’t. I don’t want to make $40,000 for the rest of my life. That is the most depressing thought of all. So many people are scrambling to make a good impression and do well at work to just make enough money to pay for the gas to get to work and go to Florida one weekend a year?

Maybe I am ambitious. Just not in the way I’m supposed to be.

I’m proud of being different, I’m proud of doing things my own way. But it makes everything so hard. Why does it have to be so hard?

I Am Not Ambitious

My friends are not ambitious. I know very few people who are ambitious. We’re all smart, we all went to college and did well, we’re all good at what we do, but it ends there.

I don’t want any extra responsibilities. I don’t want to lead people! Who wants to be in charge and get all the grief when things go wrong. I go to work, I do my thing, and I go home.

I’m really good at what I do and everyone likes me (I may even go so far as to say beloved), but at the end of the day I’d rather get home at a reasonable hour than accolades.

I have no excuse like kids at home for this lack of focus on career. Who are these people who are willingly devoting more time than required to work when they could be napping?

I Don’t Want to Be Alone Forever But…

More and more as I’m on dates, there’s a part of me that thinks “I’d just assume be doing this alone.” The date gets me out of the house but probability says it’s not going to work out. And somehow I’m constantly surprised by the ways in which it won’t work out. Options for red flags are never ending.

Tonight:

Started out great! He was interested in an outing that I hadn’t gotten any friends to agree to. We met up and he was cute and smelled good (an underrated bonus) and conversation was flowing, even though he was allergic to the sun*, my most beloved companion. Unfortunately it flowed right into whether or not it was appropriate to use certain derogatory terms that were ok 20 years ago. He felt it was ok and explained that opinion in a way I understood, until he kept saying the words over and over.

Guys: as a rule, don’t use any potentially offensive words until date 2.

Next taboo topic was religion, another thing he had very strong, repetitive ideas on, many of which happened to attack my own beliefs.

Guys: don’t criticize religion or any other major beliefs until you know your date’s stance.

These things were in the back of my head but otherwise it was all continuing to go well. Then it came time to get another drink and he started saying things like “hey, I’m going to get a drink, but don’t feel like you have to stay.”

What?

I guess since we weren’t somewhere like dinner with a definitive end point this was reasonable?

Anyway, we hung out until after 12, at which point I decided to go home (which I had foreshadowed since I had to work the next day). So we go out to get cabs and he hangs back. “Oh I’ve been texting some friends to meet up so they’re going to come get me.”

Dude, have the decency to pretend you didn’t spend the night working on backup plans to me.

As I often do after weird dates like this, I feel even more confident in my awesomeness (I’m good at conversation! I have varied, unusual interests! I’m fun!) and even more sad there’s no one to match my awesomeness.

*When I hear something that will 100% not mesh with my lifestyle, like not liking the sun, my instinct is to rationalize why it won’t be a problem. The question is, should I be compromising more on things like this? And is that why I haven’t found anyone? Or is it bs to need to change my life to accommodate someone else. How does anyone survive in a couple with anyone else?!

Things People with Kids Say that Make Their Childless Friends Stabby

  • Yes! Babypalooza!
  • But let’s talk about [pregnant person], how are you feeling?
  • 7pm is a little late to go out
  • Anything about breasts
  • You’re invited to [child’s] birthday party!
  • I’m not drinking tonight (aka I’m pregnant again)
  • Wow, you slept in till 9 am? 6 am is a treat for me since I have so much to do! Ha. Ha.
  • Well your [hair, hips, privates, wardrobe] will never be the same once you have kids!
  • Maybe instead of going out in the city you just want to come over here?

Another question attack!

This is the exact conversation we had:

Him [opening message]: How’s your weekend? When was the last time you went camping? [side: my profile mentions my hatred of camping but says “super outdoorsy.” people are…misguided about the sarcasm here.]

Me: Hi! Last time I camped was 5 years ago!

Him: tsk tsk

Me: ? [side: that should count as a question]

Him: I might be misreading you but, it seems a shame this is has been so long since it seems that camping is something you really enjoy? I probably haven’t been in 5 years either.

Me: Haha yes you’re misreading. That was my first and last trip. I actually did enjoy it but I’m much more of a beach person!

Him [8 minutes later]: Well you don’t really seem like you’re trying to engage me in conversation so I am going to assume you’re not interested. I hope you find what you’re looking for.

 

Naturally my response was “why because I’m not asking forced questions” and he responded that if you don’t ask questions the conversation ends and I was being dismissive. The confrontor in me wanted to keep attacking his logic but I stopped responding. Interestingly enough, I have a date with two guys this week who didn’t ask any unnatural questions. The banter was delightful and we even joked about how incredulous we were that we managed to converse without ending every statement with a question.

Basically I’m just refusing to play the online dating game. As such, I’ve not had much success. But is it really success if you have to play by rules set by people you wouldn’t like anyway? I’m still banking on occasional (or even frequent) loneliness beating the chokehold of a relationship with the wrong person for the sake of companionship.

Wah Wah*

Two of my very good friends have had babies in the past few weeks.

I don’t care.

I don’t want to see pictures, I don’t want to know anything about it.

I’m not an anti-kids person. There was a time I teared up over every pregnancy announcement. Siblings of friends, coworkers, high school classmates. I was buying baby gifts for every occupied uterus within a 5 miles radius, weeping through the baby clothes racks. (That reminds me: at no point in my downward spiral did I get tired of joking about babies wanting a “womb with a view.” That shit is timeless)

I’m just out of energy for being happy for other people. I hate being disinterested. I hate being the bitter, pitied single person. I hate being too selfish to care about other people’s milestones over my loneliness. But anymore, engagements and births aren’t exciting milestones to share with my friends–they’re an express ticket to adult life, where there are no openings for those of us who sleep past 7am on a Saturday and eat Combos for dinner.

Early on, people with babies tried to keep up with the childless, but then a) those people had a second kid and/or b) the parents hit critical mass and outnumbered us. Now if I want to see my friends it either has to be an event that ends at 9pm or the kids have to be invited, and if the kids are invited it’s fine, but I’m the only one without a kid and people ask why I’m at the event when I don’t have kids.

Older childless people I know have recommended literally getting an entirely new set of friends if I hope to maintain any social life. I haven’t made a new friend in 10 years!! Babies are going to force new friends on me!??

*the sound of both me and a baby whining

Being a grownup is the worst

I was never one of those kids who wanted to grow up fast. My childhood anxiety was usually based on not wanting to grow up.

One thing you dream about grownup life as a kid is eating anything you want whenever you want. Brown sugar for dinner? Sure! No one’s telling me to eat a vegetable.

Except you can’t, because you get fat. Then not only do you have to eat healthy food, but you have to spend all your hard-earned beer money on it! I could get a 12 pack for the cost of one stinking sprouted multigrain bulgar loaf. I guess I could save the $5 and buy the house white, but I might as well shoot up heroin if I’m gonna be eating white bread.

Then even if you go to an activity that seems fun like a wedding, you have to eat something roasted and glazed while staring with longing at the chicken fingers at the kids’ table.