Sunday, July 30, 2006

Friday, July 28, 2006

Can't seem to click the correct place...

I'm drunk

At my flute teacher's house.

And I know what you're thinking. "How can this be? Snail, drunk, at her flute teacher's house? Really, I realize she's a lightweight. I mean, that girl after one drink is bad. Three drinks means the makings of a massive hangover, and major embarrassment."

Come on, people, have a litte faith.

I am house-sitting at my teacher's house. This entails drinking a lot of alcohol, sitting in the hot-tub, and feeding the guinea pigs. Seriously. I don't think I'm getting paid for this, but I still think it's the greatest scam ever manifested on planet earth.

Firstly, the alcohol cabinet is only stocked with top-shelf liquor. Secondly, there is a wine celler. Okay, so maybe its a closet. But still. If there are more than three bottles of wine happily coexisting in my apartment, it's a holiday. Thirdly, have you ever had guinea pigs? They are seriously low-maintenance. Seriously.

But the fact of the moment is that I have drunk two white russians and a glass of white wine. I purchased the wine myself. There's still a big piece of me that feels guity even considering drinking a bottle of what makes up Tim's amazing wine collection.

Needless to say, I am drunk. I have deleted approximately 3/4 of the words I have typed, upon realizing that they were spelled completely incorrectly. I am going to have to battle myself not to correct in the morning. Until that time, folks...

You know you wish you were here. See ya, suckers!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Don't mess with Ms. Manners

My mother always told me to be polite. Growing up in the South, manners are not optional. You treat anyone who happens to be even a few years older than you are with the utmost respect. I've taken this to an absurd level, frequently allowing people to treat me poorly while still smiling. Even now, I have a really hard time calling an "adult" by their first name unless they specifically request it. Regardless of how ridiculous that sounds, I maintain that manners are a good thing. Sometimes I think this might make me a little bit boring. For instance, although I come up with many a rude, offensive comeback line, I never deliver one. Okay, maybe if someone is my really good friend and I know they can handle it. But I can only think of a few times even that has happened. So, in light of my inability to actually say what's in my head, instead I will play out a situation that infuriated me today, and in italics will be what I wish I would have said.

Setting: Stern Grove Festival, during intermission. Our heroine is braving the crowds in an effort to retrieve the typically generous donations of a crowd that is happily enjoying a world-class concert, free of admission charges.

Characters: Our fearless heroine and one former coworker from an organic produce stand. Our heroine is wearing a bright blue smock, carrying a plastic box with a large, red balloon attached. She ascends a steep, wooded hill, yelling to people at the top of her lungs. The coworker, it should be noted, has a dream of running a non-profit of some variety. She prides herself on her social awareness and high ideals for humanity.

AND SCENE

Coworker: (enters, screaming at the top of her lungs) SNAIL! I was hoping to see you here! (throws her arms around our heroine)

Snail: Coworker! What a pleasant surprise! Would you like to donate a dollar and keep the Festival free? We'll give you a sticker!

Coworker: (dramatic pause, rolls her eyes) Dude, it's a FREE festival.

Snail: (in her most official informative voice) Well, actually the Festival is admission-free, but it costs 2.5 million dollars each year to produce. None of the artists we present to you perform for free and...

Coworker: (interrupts) Well, you'd think they would give their time for this!

Snail: Well, as a performing musician myself, I can tell you that we'd often love to play for free, but unfortunately we have to pay rent and eat as much as lawyers and bankers.

Coworker: I guess, but really, isn't it all about sharing the love? I mean, it's just an hour of their time. If they cared about society, they'd just give their time for everyone's enjoyment. People in other countries are starving. It's a privelege for these people to get to "play" music for a living.

Snail: I don't think they'd consider it a privelege to come and "share the love" with people who possess the degree of ignorance that you have just demonstrated. And honestly, the next time I require your opinion, I'll kick it out of you. I have to go collect more donations now. Enjoy the rest of the show.

AND SCENE

Friday, July 21, 2006

Heatwave

Staring at the weather map on the national news is like staring at a poorly-done paint-by-number. The entire country is red and orange, with the notable exception of San Francisco. San Francisco is the sole green dot on the map of the continental U.S.

Which makes what I'm about to say seem really wrong.

Today I bought a fan. In our top-floor apartment, with no air-conditioning, the 80 degree heat seems suddenly unbearable. As a native Southerner, I can only feel ashamed of myself. I have survived heat in the three-digit range. I've survived humidity in the ninetieth percentile! Have I gone soft? What is wrong with me? Only a year ago I was residing for a summer in a stuffy, awful 1970s apartment in Missouri. And here I sit, in one of the most temperate cities in the United States, wearing underwear and a T-shirt, sitting in front of a fan at 10:15 at night.

For the first six months of my life here, I absolutely LIVED in wool sweaters, sitting in front of the television with a blanket pulled up around my ears. I was freezing. I turned on the heat in August. I wore my fuzzy blue slippers (a gift from Malia) with socks underneath them, and I still could not feel my toes. I purchased a winter coat last September and wore it nonstop until February.

Suddenly, around February 1, I acclimated to the San Francisco 59 degrees. 65 feels really warm these days. 70 is hot. 75 is stifling. And 80? Well, at 80 I bought a fan.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Employment!!!

Today I accepted a full-time job. It's not the dream job, nor is it even the field I want to spend my life in. But it is a job in the arts, and it will allow me to stay in this crazy, beautiful, wonderful city without working seven days a week.

The greatest part, however, is the insurance. I've been paying for insurance since I got booted from my parents' policy. My job will be providing my insurance beginning in September, and it's AMAZING. We're talking massage is covered, people. Why? PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE!!! I can't wait for September!

The Job is the reason that tonight I will go to sleep without checking my budget seventeen times. The Job is also the reason that I am going out tomorrow to buy a suit. And new shoes. And maybe more stuff.

I love not being poor!!!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Siren Call of Hawaiian Print

I will never understand what it is that people love so much about Hawaiian music. Seriously. That stuff is WAAAY too pleasant. I'm not saying that all music needs to be riddled with angst and melodrama. In fact, I found the "emo" craze in 2000-ish maddening. Come on, people. Really. Is it so tragic to be a 17-year-old upper-middle-class white kid? Even if your 15-year-old girlfriend just dumped you? I didn't think so.

But back to Hawaiian music. I recognize that I'm a music snob. And I am totally cognizant of the fact that most people will never share my taste in music. But there is something about Hawaiian music that reminds me of aspartame. You know, like nutra-sweet. It's not sugar, and somehow it tastes sweeter than sugar, and there's that weird chemical aftertaste. It doesn't seem to go away, no matter what you wash it down with. Even battery acid doesn't kill that crap.

But the weirdest thing about Hawaiian music? The fact that people feel this uncontrollable urge to wear "themed attire."

Let's back up for a moment. Today's Stern Grove concert featured two really lovely Hawaiian ensembles. Seriously, they put on terrific shows, and they were all more than polite backstage. Two guys from one of the acts even helped me lift heavy objects. Seriously above-and-beyond behavior. So this posting is not a criticism of them, or their talent, or their showmanship. I just don't happen to prefer their product.

And I hate Hawaiian print. With a passion. What I find infinitely worse, however, are the people who believe that their love of Hawaii is more poignantly expressed with each variety of contrasting print they wear. Bonus points for wearing a plastic/fake-flower lei. Double bonus points for an extremely large, tacky hat that prevents anyone seated behind you from being able to see. If your hat causes an altercation resulting in security involvement, more power to you. And if you can get a group of three or more to wear coordinating print shirts/skirts/jumpers, etc., well then you win.

So I say unto you, blog readers, the next time you find yourself in a store looking at any article of clothing bearing the image of large, brightly-colored flowers:

PUT

IT

DOWN.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Fear of Victory, the Thrill of Defeat

I've been thinking a lot about fear lately. Once upon a time I felt like I could take over the world. I was almost self-righteous in my confidence. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would surpass everyone's expectations and fulfill all of my dreams within a very strict time frame. Suddenly, about a year ago, I felt like I hit a wall. I questioned everything, from my own limitations to my intentions. I allowed the doubt of others to permeate my concrete skin, to seep into my sense of self.

What I've found the most interesting, however, has been my discovery that many of my friends hit the same wall at the same time. I am starting to believe that it is the disease of our generation: this quarter-life crisis that suddenly hits us like a ton of bricks at age 25. At an age when we are supposed to be beginning our lives as adults, we are struck by a need for excitement and a simultaneous need for stability. Are we members of a generation that doesn't know what it wants?

A lot of the answer might lie in the differences between our parents and ourselves. My parents married straight out of college, at age 22. They had me when they were 25 and moved to the town where they still reside at age 29. They bought their first home at 23 and have lived in only about 5 homes since I was born. They claim to have only ever slept with each other. Most of me recognizes that their world was nothing like the world we live in. College degrees were still prized as something slightly unusual, careers were chosen at a young age and built over a lifetime. The person you chose as your life partner was someone you'd met in college, or soon after. Celebrity obsession hadn't yet caused us to demand incredible wealth and uniqueness of ourselves and our lives.

I look at my parents and envy them their value of family ties, their long-standing goals. I envy them their ability to create stability in a world that terrifies me on a daily basis. I wish I had their ability to take satisfaction in the small victories of life. I just don't know if I'm ready to surrender my dreams of an ideal life for the sake of security. Maybe this is the curse of our generation. Personally, I hope the feeling of dissatisfaction that seems to be plaguing us now will ultimately inspire us to achieve the unachievable, to tear back the veil of apathy that our forebears seem to continually accuse us of and create a world that is more brilliant for us all.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Good karma

Today has been a day of so many random and/or good things happening that I can only believe in fate. Examples:

1. Sely's birthday/day of sleep apnea discovery
2. Running into a Virginia friend at a California wedding (and yes, I was playing)
3. JJ getting engaged to the man she has been dating for TEN years
4. Katrina winning the concerto competition at MAW
5. Hearing from the friend I've had the longest ever after losing track of him for a loooooong time
6. Getting a really funny text message from my all-time closest friend in the world
7. Tom being in town before moving to Dubai. Yes, I did say Dubai. As in the United Arab Emirates

But the top of the list, the greatest thing ever, was getting to go to Burma Superstar and order all of my favorite foods. AND sharing them with people who'd never been to Burma Superstar. I know what you're thinking. Any restaurant with the word "superstar" in the name MUST be a buffet. I can only assure you that this is not the case. This place is a major sticking point in the reason for my continued residence in San Francisco. There is no substitute, and there is no way to describe the food. Okay, maybe there is a way to describe the food, but I'd rather not have this blog be mistaken for porn.

At any rate, congratulations everyone on your great news! I'm proud of you, and you have contributed to the best day I've had in a long while!!!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The story of my life

After this happened, I made a vow to drink no alcohol until August 1. Then I ended a six-year relationship. Then, today, I learned that another ex is being ordained tomorrow as a monk. And tonight I needed a drink. So I had two. Yeeeehaw.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Ripping off the bandaid

Letting go of people has always been a problem for me. Sure, I don't call my friends as often as I should, but I keep them forever. I'm an avid collector of photographs and a frequent Googler. Whenever I drink too much, I pore over my photo album, smiling at your faces over the years. The same people make appearances throughout the albums. The Blog is just one more way to keep my friends close to me.

But today I watched a relationship die. I kept staring at it like a bad car wreck on the highway, unable to peel my eyes away. I was hoping against hope that I'd look closer and see that it was an optical illusion. Even now, sitting here, I'm fighting with myself. Do I extract this person from my life? And if I do, will it be like amputating a limb? Will I forever feel the loss, like an unreachable itch?

In my head, I know what I will ultimately do. Intellectually, I know that my life will be better without this constant drama. I know that I won't die of the ache that will invariably follow. I know that part of being an adult for me means letting go of the extra negative baggage I tend to lug around for years.

In the end, there isn't really a downside to this. It's just one more way in which this year is forcing me out of my comfort zone and into the shape of the person I want to become.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Smell of Clean

My favorite quote about Stern Grove is from the San Francisco Chronicle, and it goes something like this:

Stern Grove is the only place where the concerts smell as good as they sound.


It's true, y'all. This place is an amazing outdoor venue in a eucalyptus grove. (Side note: is it a eucalyptus grove, or an eucalyptus grove? Neither looks correct to me. Whatever.) But today topped the cake.

Because today I met the Pine-Sol lady.
You know, the woman with the braids who says "Honey, you need the power of Pine-Sol, the smell of clean." She's been on those commercials for like ten years. You know the Pine-Sol lady.

She is apparently a Stern Grove supporter. And so, as I was checking people in today, I met her. I love this woman. I know, I know, how boring can I be? But seriously, she makes me want to go buy Pine-Sol. I trust this woman. She would never let my floors stay dirty! No, not only will my floors be sparkling, but they will smell delectable. I will be the envy of all my retired Russian neighbors! Nevermind that my non-carpeted floor is only, say, twelve square feet in the entire apartment. Pine-Sol will change my life! I am not alone in this. When I told my colleagues that the Pine-Sol lady was on the premises, an embarrassing number of people with Masters degrees rushed to get her autograph.

Come on, you know you want one, too!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

An Ode to MUNI*

When I climb aboard to go on a lark
My reasoning is this: I won't have to park.
And what a surprise I find through your doors!
People in costumes, in threes or in fours!
A man in a tutu, for no obvious reason
Except, of course, this: Why not? It's the season!
Three babies are screaming, their mothers ignore them.
Teenagers are shrieking, old ladies deplore them.
The busdriver makes a wrong turn down on Haight Street
A chorus of Chinese and Russian: "You're dead meat!"
The Noriega old-lady brigade's all a-flutter
(Imagine a hundred old, cranky grandmothers)
And their voices swell up like a chorus of bees
Their disgust well-expressed through Russian and Chinese.
A man climbs on board with ten bags and a cat,
Tells me I'm pretty, and offers his lap.
I decline most politely and then look away,
Then he says to me, "Bitch, you're not hot, and I'm gay!"
As he tells me I'm phobic for not sitting down
A woman appears who is dressed like a clown.
He offers his lap and at once down she sits
And he glares at me and says "Her ass is smaller, she fits."
Another old woman is staring my way
And says really loudly, "I'm having a bad day!
I just left the psych ward, and now I am sent
To see my parole officer who'll probably vent
About my most recent foray into crime!
I only stabbed three folks! And they've given me time!
Can you believe that? It's ironic, I know,
There's a war in Iraq! And we should overthrow
Our government here! But instead, no, we worry
About how many people I stab, kill, and bury!"
Thank god, it's my stop! I run for the door
But slip on someone else's ice cream on the floor.
I fall down the stairs, my elbow I knock,
A man behind says, "Hey, the door you do block!"
I rise to my feet and I exit the bus
While the people behind me all whine and all fuss.
Oh MUNI, without you how boring I'd be!
My life would pass by with less odd company.
And yet, still I love you and daily I ride
And daily await what new wonders inside.
Oh MUNI, good wishes to you I now send
As I climb back on and this poem I end.



*All events depicted are true, though they did not necessarily take place during a single MUNI adventure.