Girl With a Tail RSS

"The worst thing you can do is to use the funk of sexual success as a hedge against the appropriate depths of self-horror. Remember, you're probably clever enough to fool someone better-looking for a while. But in the end, you're ugly. That's where you live, and you live there alone."
--Steve Almond



Inflexible and Unattractive: A Memoir

When it came to my dolls, I tried to be an equal opportunist. Barbie was just as likely to get in a fatal Carebear cloud car accident as Skipper was apt to get pregnant by Ken and abandoned under my bed to raise the child (a raccoon Sylvanian) on her own. The Gem dolls, 25% larger than Barbie, were not punished for their giant heads and vacant eyes but rather crowned royalty – though not exempt from tragic deaths, mishaps, or scandals. Even the Peculiar Purple Pie Man of Porcupine Peak got to play a range of characters from misunderstood artist to creepy child-murderer. But I admit that Brenda Breyer didn’t exactly have it easy in my childhood world of gruesome disasters and weekly proms. Brenda should have been my favorite since she was the doll who came with the Breyer horses and I had a collection of about 70. I would line them up on one side of my bedroom as a reminder of grace and beauty in an otherwise terrible world of my own creation. The horses never fell on hard times. But Brenda, sold as the sole human in an otherwise horse-dominated series, who came in riding britches, boots, and a plaid farm girl shirt, DID NOT HAVE A BENDY WAIST OR KNEES. The girl had been created for the ultimate purpose of riding horses and had been left ill equipped. Unsympathetic to her shortcomings, I made poor Brenda the victim of abuse, rejection, bullying, miscarriages, homelessness, retardation, and stupidity. It didn’t help that under her riding helmet her hair was brown and puffy or that she was somewhat cockeyed, or that once removed her clothing was extremely difficult to put back on and so she spent a lot of time wandering around nude. Had Brenda been flexible and more attractive she might have had a fighting chance. Years later (whether out of doll karma or happenstance) I have become Brenda Breyer.

Not that I AM (UNFORTUNATELY!) the victim of anything as horrific as I put poor Brenda through. Mainly because unlike that dumb broad, I don’t constantly wander into dark alleys (my closet) or get in vans with strange men (G.I. Joe) or run away from the orphanage and end up being adopted by a gang of street urchin/gypsies (The McDonald’s Muppet Babies figurines circa 1987). But like Brenda, I do seem to stray stupidly, time and time again, into heartbreak, rejection, and humiliation. Fluffy-haired and cockeyed, I still manage to get enough first dates but it’s never long before my inflexible ways (read: total prude) and special ed flirting style made it clear to men what I really am: Built in every way to resemble a dateable, loveable human, but severely lacking in detrimental areas. Given the chance I probably could have shucked some cool over my spaz and shaken off my sad, eager-puppy ways in favor of something more appealing. But like Brenda, I took one look at the parts I considered faulty, deemed myself a lemon, and sent myself packing down the road of self-deprecation and destruction; entertaining to be sure but mainly a savvy way to avoid falling in love.

If I could go back I’d take a closer look at Brenda, which I think is what anyone who at first glance seems unworthy probably needs. Had I taken the time to inspect her I might have noticed that despite her joints being held together inside her plastic torso by a single rubber band, Brenda did actually have a pretty cute figure. And cockeyed or not, she at least had normal-sized, human features which is more than I can say for Rainbow Brite – that slut couldn’t even spell her name right and she slow danced to Paula Abdul’s “Rush, Rush” at my makeshift prom on my bedspread AND made out with Surfer Derek in a desk drawer. Brenda got Goodwilled, so sadly it’s too late for her. But I guess I could take another look at me and maybe have higher standards than the Peculiar Purple Pie Man. After all, I may be defunct in a lot of ways, but at least I can bend at the waist.


Erin Shows You How to Use The Secret

I used to go to a healer in Irvine. Unfortunately, being stuck in traffic two hours each way seemed to undo any positive healing that was happening so I quit her. But before I broke up with her via email she taught me that when speaking to the Universe, it first likes to be capitalized and second, gets confused easily. It doesn’t understand complicated phrases like, “I don’t want to be a loser anymore,” and instead hears only keywords like, “loser,” and focuses on that.  Kind of like when you tell your Nana (again) that extra work isn’t the same as an acting job and that no matter how closely you are placed behind the actor who is talking and no matter how believably you mouth the words,”peas and carrots,” like you’re having a real conversation, you still won’t get promoted and that even though Zach Braff went on to make Garden State the fact that you quit walking through the background of Scrubs is neither here nor there because he was an actor and you were sitting in holding listening to other extras talk about ways to steal multiple meals from Craft Service.  She only hears “peas and carrots.”  It’s best, instead, to filter out all the unnecessary and negative messages in your dealings with the Universe. That’s what she said, anyway. And I’m pretty sure she was just quoting The Secret. As an example I’ve included some of my requests for the coming year and shown in parentheses the original phrasing that would have surely baffled the Universe and my Nana:

1. Please make my thighs look like sinewy antelope thighs. (I want you to make magic real so I don’t have to work out and I’m tired of being skinny fat like Vince Vaughn was between Swingers and being actually fat.)

2. Make me a horse. (I’ve been wishing to be a horse since I was eight. You made a mistake and put me in the wrong body. Fine. Fix it. Have you seen my body hair? I’m halfway there already now just do the rest.)

3. If I can’t be a horse give me a baby and some bookshelves. (To be clear, I don’t want to HAVE a baby because growing a human inside another human is the kind of thing Stephen King would think up if it didn’t already exist. In the book the characters would be all excited and then suddenly they’d be all, wait, how do we get this human out of this woman? And what you call “birth” would be the horror element.  You know, when a screaming, bloody monster claws its way out of the woman’s pink parts ripping her from vag to anus and then demanding refuge. No. I want a bunch of cozy bookshelves and a ready-made baby so that when people take night walks they look up into my window and wish they were me. Do you hear me, Universe? I’m tired of being the one on the dark sidewalk looking in! If I stole that line from Bonnie Tyler, I apologize.)

4. Give me my own tv show that I wrote. And act in. (For reals, writing is HARD. The way I sit when I’m on my laptop makes my back hurt and then I think I have a kidney infection which you can die from and then I end up drunk in Urgent Care.  Again. You have to get drunk in Urgent Care otherwise they send you to Cardiology because your pulse is so fast they can’t take it. What I’d appreciate is 1) a great idea that doesn’t sound like a depressed person watched Lucas too many times and decided to write the adult version, 2) some sexy secretary hands that type like lightning and don’t google things like, “what happened to that guy from the Sprite commercial in 1989 that I had a crush on, you know the one my mom taped onto VHS as a present for me?” 3) Will power that actually chooses correctly when the choices are “live your life” and “watch 4 seasons of Brothers and Sisters on Netflix while kneading your weird, non-sinewy thighs and eating peppermint ice-cream long after Christmas has passed.)

5. Please, really, please make Harry Potter real and then make me Harry Potter. Or Dumbledore. (Look, I’d even be Malfoy. Or one of those God awful girls who keep trying to sneak love potions into chocolates like date rape in the magical world is adorable or something. The thing is, Universe, I fucking fell apart after I finished the Harry Potter series and I still haven’t gotten over it.  I mean this isn’t even a relevant time to be bringing it up.  This might have been funny three years ago.  Now it’s old.  That’s how much I want to have dead parents, a wand, and a purpose in life, ok?  The thing is, you can’t create a whole world in which magic exists and people can fly and wizards talk about their feelings and there’s no drinking age limit and important things are happening and the way to fix them is to collect antiques with soul bits and then TELL ME IT’S FICTION. Who wants to be in this dumb world when that one exists??? So if sinewy thighs and horses and happiness are too much for you could you at least make me some sort of tragic fictional character whose sole purpose in life is to save the world so at least I feel like I’ve got some reason to get out of bed in the morning? Could you at least do THAT?)


Jolly Holiday Tips

(This is old and but ‘tis the season again) <!— @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } —>

Listen, we all go through dry spells. I’ve been going through one so long I had to recycle a couple of cast-offs just to get them to check I still had bits. But if you can’t fathom using an ex to brush up on your dry humping skills – they’re exes for a reason after all – there are lots of fun ways to get your jollies without waking up next to someone you regret the morning. If you’re not dating, and you’re not recycling anything besides glass, aluminum, and plastic, here are some helpful tips for getting randy without having to resort to… well, Randy.

  1. Speaking of jollies, it’s almost Christmas and what’s more jolly than St. Nick? Use your imagination and pretend you can’t guess what a guy working as a mall Santa probably looks like underneath his rented suit and beard. Use those couple of minutes on Santa’s lap to soak up some Christmas spirit and human contact. With all those elves watching and the danger element (c’mon, there are children around) you’ll be set for the season with a new go-to fantasy.

  2. Listen it’s called Thanksgiving for a reason. Now is the time to give thanks for all you have and think about those less fortunate – like homeless people. I’m not going to spell it out for you, but aside from canned goods and blankets, there are some other more creative ways to make a homeless guy (or gal) really, really thankful with just a little giving from you.

  3. A fun game I like to play is Horny Confessional. Now is the time of year everyone who meant to go to church for eleven months is heading there and unburdening themselves of things like swearing in front of the family and secretly wishing they were one of the Jackass crew members instead of married. Spice things up for your local priest by getting in that confessional and telling him everything you’d like to do to his body underneath that cloth. Extra points if you dress up like a ten year-old boy.

  4. I have something called a crystal wand and ladies, do you know it’s shaped almost exactly like a candy cane? Opt for jumbo sized and keep the wrapper on! Trimming the tree never felt so naughty!

  5. This one’s more cathartic than sexy, but works when you just need a good old fashioned emotional release. Write down things you don’t like about yourself, or things you’re worried people might think about you. Put them in boxes and wrap them up nicely in Christmas paper with ribbon. Place them under your sad, single person mini-tree you bought at Trader Joe’s and comes with its own ornaments because they assume sad single people don’t have their own ornaments. Then sit down and pretend they’re real presents from people you love so that you’ll be all the more surprised when you see what they really are. Not recommended for depressive types.

  6. Chat Roulette. Sure it’s kind of five minutes ago but add a fun twist by sitting in a wheel chair and telling people your Christmas wish is to see them naked. People love this because of Tiny Tim.

  7. Bake cookies naked. I did this one year and burned my abdomen with the baking sheet but you’re probably a lot more coordinated then I am. It’s sexy but the main reason is that while you are watching your terrible family members eat them you can think to yourself, I made those naked and didn’t wash my hands! But wash your hands because that’s just disgusting. Just think it.

  8. And finally, the old reliable. Tis the season to shop at Brookstone for ridiculous gadgets your friends and family will never use. Tis also the season to sit in the vibrating chair at Brookstone, watch the shoppers traipse by with their dull, bleary-eyed spouses, and enjoy the ride.

Remember, it’s the thought that counts at Christmas. If you think about making out with someone, it’s like you did. But if you find yourself pregnant after just thinking about doing it, you may have gotten a little too much holy spirit in you.


    Secrets Don’t Make Friends

    My mom was the one to spot the Hammer pants sale. Behind the local video store where we rented the same two movies every week — my favorite, Flight of the Navigator and my sister’s favorite, Sleeping Beauty – a guy with those futuristic band-like sunglasses that no one in the future would ever wear was selling dozens of Hammer pants on clotheslines. They weren’t even technically called Hammer pants yet since MC wouldn’t be popular for another three years or so. The pants were parachutes of cotton, elastic waist band and elastic ankles. They billowed in the wind like graffitied sails. “These are so cool! They look so comfortable!” my mom said. This was 1985. My mom dressed like Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink, flowing pinks and peaches and giant, dangly earrings. At ages 6 and 4, my sister and I considered her the last word in fashion. The guy was selling them for $5 a pair, so my mom decided we should each get two. I chose a black and white checkered pattern with hot pink squigglies and a black pair with green and blue neon geometric shapes.

    My mom, a free spirit, was always more casual about things than my friends’ parents. We didn’t have to clean our rooms except maybe once a year when my mom would walk in, realize I’d been doing gymnast leaps over piles of junk in order to get to and from my bed, and insist on at least clearing a path. We were allowed to watch movies with suggested sex scenes so long as there wasn’t too much violence, while my friends were allowed to watch torture, shootings, bombings, and stabbings in movies but an exposed breast was out of the question. My mom saw nothing wrong with my snaggle teeth which was why I didn’t get braces until I insisted on it in the 9th grade. We made glitter art projects, played word games, and made fairy homes instead of watching t.v. And my mom was partial to dispensing tidbits of advice that, while valid, didn’t always reflect the norm – and reflecting the norm was absolutely my biggest goal in 1st grade. “Boys will like your furry arms and legs because they’re soft.” (Not true. No boy has ever stroked my arm hair and whispered sweet, “So soft.”) “If you have a stomach ache, massage your belly downward.” (This led to a bathroom trip at the skating rink with two of my girlfriends after too much cake and sausage pizza during which one of them exclaimed in horror, “Eeew, why are you kneading your stomach like bread!?”) “Sometimes it’s nice not to wear underwear and let your vulva air out.” This last one wouldn’t have been such an issue if it wasn’t for my irrepressible desire to share secrets; a trait I still struggle with.

    I wore my new checkered, squiggly pants to school the next day. My mom and sister, also wearing their new pants, dropped me off at my classroom. We were like a family act without a talent. I loved the way the elastic held snug to my ankles. I loved the way I could pull the elastic waist band up high over my ribcage or let them sit low on my hips. I chose ribcage. When I walked into the classroom, strutting my balloon legs proudly – much like Hammer would walk on stage in a few years – I noticed I got some looks. Most 1st grade girls are dressed by their moms. They wore things like little pinafore dresses or overalls or cotton capris with matching blouses. Their hair was always in plastic barrettes the shape of poodles or ribbons. I had a no-helping policy which covered me head to toe. My mom might have suggested the Hammer pants purchase, but I had paired them with a pale pink puffy paint t-shirt tucked in, mismatched socks, purple velcro sneakers, and my usual scraggly hair complete with one or two tangles in the back. I looked like the portrait of a young bag lady. The look would have been complete with a shopping cart and a few mangy cats.

    The kids at my table asked why my whole family was wearing the same weird pants. I explained that they were cool because they were so comfy and because they were being sold behind the video store. “My mom buys all my clothes at Macy’s,” said Shauna, whose outfits were always Skipper-perfect. I had not learned yet, at age 6, that being okay with yourself doesn’t involve lying. “Well,” I told the table, “My mom read that it’s better to buy clothes not from Macy’s now.” Shauna rolled her eyes. Tim, a fat kid whose mom had to be told to stop bringing jumbo size containers of candy to the class, said, “My mom said when I lose weight we get to go shopping for all new clothes,” and this diverted Shauna’s disdain temporarily.

    I sat very still, blushing, wishing I could think of a way to make everyone at my table believe I was cool. As we got out wide-lined notebook paper and began numbering 1-10 for our spelling words, my secret-telling impulse rose like heat in my body. The best way to feel less alone was to share something personal and maybe a little embarrassing. This is a technique I would later employ with new friends and crushes and always to the same end. I leaned over to Rose, a quiet girl in a lovely lavender sundress with matching patent leather shoes and straight, perfect bangs. “Guess what,” I whispered. She looked over and leaned in with a little smile. It was working. People love secrets. “I’m not wearing underwear.” Immediately Rose gasped and covered her mouth with her hand. Then she leaned in towards the center of the table and said, as if I was not beside her, “You guys, Erin just told me she’s not wearing underwear!!!” This elicited an elongated, “Eeeeeeew!” from the rest of the table. Let me save you the suspense and tell you that trying to explain that not wearing underwear was good for airing our the vulva did not help my case. Eventually, Mrs. Keely, known to draw frowning faces beside mistakes on homework, came over to see why my table had erupted in gleeful horror. Shauna quickly repeated my secret to Mrs. Keely who wrinkled her nose, looked at me like I was a wrong answer, and said, “Why?” This of course made the kids laugh even harder since they had already heard my defense. I shrugged my little shoulders, looking down at the checkered pants and squigglies as they went glassy. My face was hot and tears leaked from my eyes. Mrs. Keely sighed heavily and said, “Oh, Erin, don’t CRY,” as though it were the most idiotic thing a person could do. I made it to the end of the day. At one point I leaned over to Rose and said, “I was only kidding about not wearing underwear. I can’t believe you fell for that.” She just scooted her chair away from me. At lunch I unwrapped each individual, foil package my mom had packed and ate without looking at anyone. My mom picked me up and my Hammer pants-clad family drove home in our Dodge mini van with the Beach Boys tape that had been stuck in the player for 6 months blasting, “Be True to Your School.”

    The next year I switched to Montessori where each day started with a circle during which kids talked about their feelings, the only person who made fun of me for bringing baby food in my lunch was Rose Mary the playground supervisor, and my new best friend, Aimee, didn’t care if I wore underwear under my Hammer pants or not. Which I didn’t because they really were so comfortable.


    "Compromising Positions" or "I Ate Cat Food"

    I’m in Miceli’s, an old italian restaurant in Hollywood, wedged into a charming booth on a hobbit-sized bench seat. My companions – three brothers and their wives – and I have just come from a screening of many short films, 95% of them involving guns and artfully splattered blood. This is the Tarantino generation. While my friends debate which meats to get on their pizza pies, I start to feel an internal tearing of sorts in my intestines. Earlier, at the apartment I am cat-sitting in, I went on a meal forage, wanting to save the last $5 in my wallet for a gourmet coffee, a chocolate bar, or valet parking. I’m always astounded by what other people consider food. First of all, it took a few rounds of reading ingredients to surmise the cat food was mixed in with the other food in the pantry. I dismissed anything dusty for fear of moths and the tiny eggs and worms they leave. (This fear stems from biting into several snack foods over the years at my Nana’s house only to find half a white, squirming little worm and a couple of eggs clinging to my lip. Nana is known for saving perishables that have been gifted so that you will often find jars labeled, “Mixed nuts from Erin, Christmas 1997,” or, “Homemade cookies from Lou, Birthday 1965.”) In this cupboard I found some green pasta that looked fresh enough and in a last ditch effort to get some protein in me before a night of 22 short films, I threw in a can of tuna and some Jack cheese. It is maybe the cheese, or perhaps the tuna was indeed cat food, or maybe the pasta was never supposed to be green, but my stomach feels like someone is slowly inflating a balloon from inside and my abdominal wall is ripping to make room.

    On top of that, I have squeezed myself into a pair of jeans that have not fit me since before Crazy Diet #2. Crazy Diet #2 was a backlash to Crazy Diet #1. With the help of Google, I convinced myself during an acute bout of hypochondria that I had a particular condition that required I give up sugar, bread, alcohol, and dairy. Since these were the only things I was eating at the time, the transition was a little rough. I ate only salmon, brown rice, and steamed vegetables for four months and would often wake up having dreamed I was taking a giant bite of a cupcake, so sugary the glands behind your jaw actually tingle in protest. When, after months of deprivation and depression, I determined I did not have that condition after all, I rewarded my efforts with a five month binge of a pint and a half nightly of McConnell’s peppermint ice-cream or Ben and Jerry’s Everything ice-cream which solved the problem of choosing a flavor. With my ice-cream I might have pizza or a burrito and always about half a bottle of wine (sometimes a full one) to make up for lost time. I laughed to myself that I had the kind of genes that could handle this sort of sloth-like indulgence without gaining weight. And then overnight I gained 25 pounds and had to buy new jeans – thrift store jeans because I had spent my savings on vitamins and probiotics during Crazy Diet #1, and then on single-handedly keeping McConnell’s in business during Crazy Diet #2.

    I manage to jam my thumb between my rapidly expanding abdomen and my waist band. This only relieves the pressure slightly, though, and I find myself trying not to breathe in too deeply because adding even extra air to my torso is excruciating. I look down at what could pass for a 5 months pregnant belly and silently swear off cheese and cat food forever. I look around weighing dignity versus discomfort, decide that everyone here is taken anyway, and announce (because it’s too obvious to conceal) that I am unbuttoning my pants. This gets a laugh. Thin people can always derive humor from over-eating, like a baby ripping a giant belch; it’s funny because it’s unexpected. I manage to pop the button open and then the zipper actually breaks apart. Fuck it, I will never wear these again after tonight. But it’s still not better. The pizza has not arrived yet. I am in the middle, against the wall, watching everyone eat, drink, and laugh and imagining a scenario in which the gas finally moves downward and I fart so long that I fly around Miceli’s like a punctured blow-up doll. I calculate how many bathroom excursions I can allow myself without rousing suspicion. I do not like other people imagining me farting, pooping, or having explosive diarrhea. When these things happen in public I try to pass off trips to the ladies room as an unusually small bladder, too much coffee, or even throwing up which seems more socially acceptable then anything coming out of the ass does.

    I lift my pelvis, wrench the fly of my jeans back together and manage to get the button back in place. I have to slither out of the booth in this position because my pants are so tight at this point I can’t bend. I make my way through the dimly lit restaurant, dining couples engaged in romantic talks over candlelight, and find the bathroom. No one there. Thank God. In the stall, I unbutton once again and watch as my gut balloons out. I sit on the toilet and try to will my intestines to move. I place my hands on my extremely hard abdomen in hopes of feeling the promising sensation of bubbles. Nothing. Limited time alone in a public restroom calls for no dilly dallying. I pull another seat protector out of the dispenser, place it on the toilet, then bend over and place my hands on the seat with my ass in the air, hoping that the change in gravity will get things moving. If someone were to peek through the crack in the stall they would see my spread ass and hear sad whimpering, as if I were being sexed against my will by an apparition. This is still not working.

    I take yet another seat protector, place it on the floor, and kneel down on the tile with my elbows on the protector. I do not care about my pants at this point – they are being donated or burned tomorrow. Now I am in a position usually reserved for devout prayer, minus the bared ass and toilet seat protector. “Please, please, please,” I mumble to some God who clearly has better things to do. If God is everywhere, he is in some other section of Miceli’s because nothing happens and I feel at this point like my intestines have swollen to the size of fire hoses and are going to explode out of my stretched belly before any gas starts moving. I am now desperate. I have known this gravity shift to work in the past (oh, no, this is not my first encounter with a gas-engorged abdomen). I consider my yogic ability (none) and the odds of someone walking in (great) but am still considering a headstand in the Miceli’s stall. I figure I could put my head on the seat protector and fling myself up against the wall of the stall. Hopefully the sweat of my butt cheeks would adhere me slightly to the metal divider. If someone were to come in perhaps they would just see my upside down head and think I was passed out. Of course that would mean they would come in. The door opens and two women enter. I make it off the floor and back on the pot in time to avoid them seeing my head, hands, and knees under the stall. I figure I have a good 45 seconds before it becomes obvious I am having troubles. I sit, quietly trying to do lamaze breathing, while the women chat about something to do with appropriate RSVP time lines. I want to fucking murder them for invading what is a near life or death experience for me. I give up, stand, and painfully button my jeans. I wash my hands at an awkward, straight armed angle since I still can’t bend, and shoot a withering look at the women as I exit.

    Back at the table I don’t bother with formalities. I am, at this point, actually concerned that abdominal bursting is a real possibility. I unbutton my fly before sliding – well, more like grunting and lurching – into the booth and sitting there, propped against the red vinyl like an overgrown Cabbage Patch doll, my eyes wide in terror, answering questions with the little breath I am allowing myself. In a last ditch effort to make by bowels emit anything at all, I try a few bites of pizza but quickly determine this is only adding to the problem. I hate my stupid self right now because it was my idea to ride with the group over to the restaurant, leaving my car in the lot that will cost me triple in overdraft fees. All I can do is breathe slow and shallow and remind myself that at least if I die tonight, the last thing I tasted will have been pizza and there is some small comfort in that. Even if I am pretty sure I consumed cat food earlier.

    Finally we are in the cold, nighttime air, walking back to the car. I have not bothered to rebutton my jeans because honestly I don’t know if it is physically possible. A short, agonizing ride later and I am dropped off at my dirt-crusted Toyota Echo. As I step into it I gasp out loud in pain as I feel what I am certain is a rupture from within. On the drive home I am behind every mentally challenged, bullet-to-the-brain damaged, moron bred by morons, what-are-these-pedals-for? fuck wad, old confused lady in Los Angeles. I scream things like, “Ok, God!? I get it! I am being punished! Just make it stop!” and then in a sudden change of tactic, “But murderers are way worse than me and their stomachs are fine!!!” At a long red light I moan and cry, “Oh my God I am going to die, my stomach is going to burst like that tyrant in the 1700’s whose bladder burst and killed him!” and then, “Really, God? Anatomically this makes no sense. Why would you not design the body to RELEASE gas? What is the point of making it SIT there?” As I near the apartment where I am cat-sitting I whisper with as little torso-flexing as possible, “Please, God, let me not tear wide open, please let me not die of a burst intestine.” God, if he exists, must be aware by now that I am an atheist everywhere except planes, the doctor, and now in situations involving trapped gas. Well, fuck him for choosing such a petty way to seek revenge. And fuck me for eating cat food.

    In the apartment I kick off my clothes, manage to pull on pajamas with as little bending as possible, feed the cats (hey, look guys, we had the same thing for dinner), and crawl into bed. I try out several positions before figuring out none are good but all are better than being in a booth or a car. After a moment, I feel first one bounce and thump and then another as the cats join me on the bed. Bug, the brown tabby, nestles herself between my knees and falls asleep. Butterscotch, a giant long-haired calico, crawls up next to my face and licks my nose for a while before curling up like a cocktail shrimp, paws over nose, and snoozing with his forehead against mine. As I fall asleep I am already amending my ‘no cheese ever again,’ vow to allow for certain cheeses at times when I will not be carless and jammed like a plump sardine into designer denim and a vinyl booth all night.


    Spielberg Got His Best Ideas in the Car. So Do I.

    I do my best thinking in the car. Below is a thought transcription from a drive yesterday:

    1. It feels so good to be out, I should leave my apartment more oft – FUCK YOU, FUCK WAD, YOU JUST ALMOST KILLED ME!

    2. Erin, calm down, now you look like the psycho and you’re not even the one weaving the steel killing machine into oncoming traffic.

    3. I love that Steve Carrell doesn’t dry off after showers. He just puts his clothes on his wet body. Wet Steve Carrell. Oh man, he’s married. Sorry Steve Carrell’s wife.

    4. I should tweet that.

    5. Oh my gosh, it is so beautiful out. I wanna lay in a park somewhere. But not alone. That one time those Russian senior citizen ladies circled me and clucked at me in Russian was scary. The only word I understood was ‘bra.’ Yes, you could see most of my hot pink bra – like my breasts are big enough to offend anybody?

    6. Ooh! Chipotle! Not now, need to be on time.

    7. Okay, really, dude? You’re gonna stop right there? Gruuuughhhh, you moron. You probably have baby morons at home. I can’t wait till they turn 16 and I get to share the road with them!

    8. Why are there two cemeteries called Forest Lawn? At least I’m not there… yep, debt doesn’t look that bad from 6 feet under. Why do people get buried? It’s the most archaic, disgusting practice. You don’t stick something rotting in a box and bury it, you get rid of it!  Oh, babies die.  Sad.

    9. Oh fuck, forgot my jacket.

    10. No, I didn’t, it’s right there.

    11. Forgot my phone!

    12. Oh, no, it’s here. Wow, way to go, didn’t forget anything, rocking the world.

    13. Is my life so pathetic that I’m congratulating myself for remembering items?

    14. Why do I have such low standards for myself?

    15. Oh, sweet! Love this song! Lightning crashes, a new mother cries. Her placenta falls to the floor. The angel opens her e-e-e-e-e-e-yes, the confusion sets in…

    16. I wonder if anyone is watching me sing, I bet I look sexy and like I don’t care if people are watching. No one is watching. Why do I seem to be the only driver who finds other drivers endlessly interesting? What if the person I’m supposed to fall in love with is in the next car? But he’s like texting and staring at that Iowa license plate. The iPhone has killed my hope for love.

    17. I don’t believe in supposed to.

    18. Ooooh now feel it, comin’ back again, like a rollin’ thunder chasin’ the wind!

    19. Bitch, do not rear end me, if you can’t chew gum and drive then… spit out the gum or don’t drive. Good one, Erin.

    20. Who was the last person I kissed? Oh yeah.

    21. Ugh, I think I have cramps. Oh no, I ate 7 cookies before I left. Ooh, McDonalds sundae sounds so good. Gross, you are so gross.

    22. I need to exercise. But I need a job. And I need to write. Life is so hard.

    23. I wish I was Buffy.

    24. What was I going to tweet? No idea.

    25. I wish you got more than one life. I think I’d like to go back and do science. Do science, yeah, that’s what scientists say, “Let’s go do science,” and then they demote a planet.

    26. I love space. I love feeling so tiny in comparison to the solar system and the galaxy and the universe. Getting teary over insignificance. That’s not too suspicious.  Get it together, Whitehead.

    27. Punky Brewster was so ahead of her time.

    28. Don’t play in refrigerators. That was a sad episode.

    29. Why are we stopping? No, no, no, NOOOOOOOOOOO! Fucking Hollywood Bowl! They have Amber alerts but not Hollywood Bowl alerts??? Amber is a lost cause, I could have taken a different route! Fuck.

    30. Why aren’t you people at work? Why aren’t I at work? This town is ridiculous.

    31. What are you looking at, you never saw a girl scream alone in her car before?

    32. Hate.

    33. Despair.

    34. Hate.

    35. Pfffft.

    36. I smell good. I love coconuts.

    37. I think if I moved to Hawaii I would never leave.

    38. I wonder how terrible it would be to be eaten by a shark. Even if it didn’t bite you some place important, you’d still probably choke screaming under water so it would be over pretty fast. I’d rather get eaten than just have my legs bitten off.

    39. Not really, God, I appreciate life. You know I’m joking.

    40. I wonder if God cares that I’m an atheist everywhere except planes and panic attacks?

    41. He probably gets it.

    42. I don’t even believe in God.

    43. (Just kidding).

    44. Dude! I do not want to buy your crappy homemade Eagles t-shirt you’re smoking all over! Who goes to see the Eagles!? Seriously? Tom Petty gets canceled but the FUCKING EAGLES are making me late? Seriously, dude, no one is going to buy your ashed-on shirts.

    45. Okay. I stand corrected.

    46. I think it’s a bad sign that my farts smell so much like what I just ate. That’s probably a disease.

    47. And my neck hurts. Or the top of my spine. I think I have spinal meningitis.

    48. Normal people love hypochondriacs because they’re so easy to torture.

    49. I’m normal….

    50. Nermal.

    51. I love Garfield. I miss third grade when me and Nick and Vincent all read Garfield and talked about it at recess.

    52. Mark taught that class.

    53. He’s in jail for molestation now.

    54. I wish he had molested me. Then I’d have a good explanation for being so messed up.

    55. Sorry, victim girls. Not really.

    56. We did a project with silk worms and when I was walking across the classroom I accidentally kicked over the plastic tub of them and thousands of eggs and worms went flying and we never did get all of them out of the carpet.

    57. Regrets. So many regrets…

    58. Should have kissed JB on the Reeds Beach field in 1994.

    59. Wish I hadn’t yelled at my mom in that Chinese restaurant in front of Mary’s parents.

    60. Wish I hadn’t forgotten to feed Christian Slater, my rat, for so long that she died.

    61. I don’t think I really forgot.

    62. Oh man I hate myself.

    63. Ooh, need lipgloss.

    64. Glossy, glossy, looking good…. my rearview mirror has the best lighting.

    65. Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry was a good book.

    66. So was The Cay.

    67. We read a lot of good books about black people in fourth grade.

    68. Chad Warren talked about his ass juices a lot. I can’t believe I was his girlfriend for a week even though we never saw each other because it was summer and we couldn’t drive.

    69. I miss my Volvo.

    70. I’ve never eaten at THAT place.

    71. Wine sounds so good right now.

    72. I still need to write that movie idea I got from Diana Ross. That was a good idea.

    73. Just remembered my dream! I was adopting a black baby. I loved it so much. Aw, that’s sad. Baby dreams and then waking up with no baby.

    74. I do not want a baby.  Every time I ovulate it’s like one less child in the playground that is my ovaries:  Ovum waiting for a mini van that never comes.

    75. Those tweets I wrote about the jumbo shrimp fetus were great. Why did no one RT them?

    76. I want a coffee.

    77. Coffee, coffee, coffee, coooooooffffffffeeeeeee…. sweet.

    78. Dude, why do you have no parking lot? You have fifty seats and no parking spaces? That is the dumbest fucking – Oh you do. Never mind.

    79. Oh, Closer! Why do you come on the radio right when I’m parking!?

    80. Help me! I broke apart my insides! Help me! I got no soul to sell!

    81. That is such a sad song.


    Who knows more about dating than me?

    Like so, so many people.  But check out where I will soon be a featured writer!


    Monthly Horoscope

    Aries The coming month shows great promise for independent Aries! It’s a good thing you like your alone time because you’ll be spending most of your days in solitude. It really won’t matter if you surround yourself with others, because inside your heart will feel cold and abandoned. You’ll feel the way I did at the 7th grade dance when my mom told me to blow dry my hair upside down for body and it looked like I got electrocuted and I wore a fuchsia dress made out of sweatshirt material and stood against the wall crying because I thought that would lure a sensitive guy from the swaying crowd of slow dancers over to me and we’d dance to Live and Let Die by Guns n Roses and his hands would slowly travel from my waist to my hips and THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN AND THAT’S HOW YOU’LL FEEL.

    Taurus Sensitive Taurus is not a fan of change and that is evident this month. The things you have been unsatisfied with continue to weigh you down because you refuse to better your situation. You know those days, dear Taurus, when you lie in bed until 2 PM because try as you might you honestly can’t think of a reason to get up and as you lie there, staring at shapes in the popcorn ceiling (a depressed person’s cloud watching), you think, there are a million things I could do to better my situation and then you roll over and get a head ache from the sunlight penetrating your eye lids and finally end up having your first cup of coffee at cocktail hour? That’s what this month will be like.

    Gemini Ah, the twins, the double sided sign that creates both harmony and conflict in clever Gemini. This month, though, like Sophie before you, you will be forced to choose. You’ve spent your life breezing from one self to the other but now you will have to kill one. This reminds me, sweet Gemini, of the time in 9th grade when, on a long and quiet ride home in his silver jeep, I told Simon I loved him and he tossed his blonde pony tail and said, “I think I need to get my alignment checked. Also, Kat and I are getting back together.” A part of me died that day, much like Buttercup in the Princess Bride, only I looked more like a cross between Blossom and Atreyu the warrior boy from The Neverending Story so I didn’t get a prince or a horse or perfect breasts. So read up on Sweet Valley Twins, pick a sister: Jessica or Elizabeth, then stab, stab away.

    Cancer Moody Cancer will face some challenges this month. So will everyone else but you’ll feel like your problems are bigger and more important. They are. Like your sign suggests you should wary of giant crabs attacking. Scratch that, the all-seeing eye was blurry. You should be wary of getting crabs. I used to be called the Crab Queen when I was younger because I caught a lot of crabs in the sand dunes. Unfortunately, just the aquatic kind.

    Leo An exciting month for loyal Leo! Melodramatic Leo always finds herself the cause of trouble and this month is no different. Someone close to you has been getting on your nerves for some time now and finally you can hold your tongue no longer. Like when I was eight and my sister had been driving me NUTSO and just as we walked into my grandparents’ house I said, “Meg, you’re such a fucking whore.” (She was 5) And then I looked up to see my Nana who said, “What did you just say?” and I did not realize this was rhetorical and so REPEATED MYSELF TO MY NANA. Yeah, have fun this month.

    Virgo Skeptical and analytical, level-headed Virgo will have some surprises in the coming months. That’s right, as Jupiter’s moons pass through something cosmic, the Universe will bestow some serious emotion in Virgo’s life that won’t be helped by analysis! Speaking of moons, moons reminds me of periods which reminds me of the 6th grade slumber party where I learned what red wings were. Honestly I was more shocked by the fact that people PUT THEIR MOUTHS ON OTHER PEOPLE’S PRIVATES than by the whole period thing.

    Libra You’re so vain you probably think this horoscope is about you. Well, it is. Vanity can get you in trouble, though, like the time I was walking by a store and I saw this woman and I thought, “Thank fucking God I’m not her!” and then I realized it was my reflection. I couldn’t take advantage of myself for a week.

    Scorpio The sign that is supposed to be my love match. Riddle me this, Scorpio, why are there so few of you? Furthermore, why, when there is one of you do you a)smell like milk, b)call it finger blasting, c)manage to be moodier than me which, let me tell you, is a serious feat, and d)have weird mom issues? How do I know what this month will be like for you, why don’t you ask your mom?

    Sagittarius As the philosophical explorer, you’re used to figuring things out on your own. That’s awesome. If you love yourself so much, why don’t you marry yourself? I like cheese but 2 KINDS ARE BETTER THAN ONE, HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO SOMEONE’S HOUSE WHO ONLY OFFERED ONE KIND OF CHEESE?…… WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT CHEESE?

    Capricorn This is the month to let those inhibitions go! If you don’t, you could end up like those guys who, when making out, go, “Do you like that?” If you were actually paying attention and not worrying about how you look, you could tell very easily by the BREATHING, SOUNDS, and MOVEMENTS whether or not she has entered the pleasure zone. Same with, “Can I kiss you?” If you have to ask, don’t. Lucky Love Days: May 32, 33, 34.

    Aquarius Get over it, it is not the age of Aquarius anymore, just like I am not in my twenties anymore and some guy compared my relationship with a younger guy to HAROLD AND MAUDE, and a 60 year old ex-trapeze artist told me I looked old, and I make out with the 7/11 guys who still card me.

    Pisces It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life. Don’t get excited, that’s a Bill Murray quote. Remember Groundhog Day? The rest of your life will be like that except rather than each day repeating it will only FEEL like it is. You will keep getting older, you will not learn to sculpt ice, and if you start balding it will not be charming.


    Official Music Fanatic’s Must-Have List

    1. “Torn” single.  A man showed Natalie what it was to cry then left her cold and shamed lying naked on the floor.  I think it might be figurative, though if not, abusive and disturbing.  Either way, I want to be her.

    2.  The Cruel Intentions soundtrack — this eclectic mix includes the Counting Crows.  Adam Duritz sings about the color grey even though it plays during a scene in the movie where the color scheme is blue.  I met Adam backstage at an REM concert in ‘95.  I told him his music made me cry and he said, “It makes me cry, too.”

    3.  The Buffy soundtrack — Pay special attention to track 14 in which the woeful, childlike vocal stylings of Sarah Michelle Gellar speak disarmingly of her (SPOILER ALERT) fall from heaven.  When I worked for Casting, Spike (he had a real name I think, but really, who cares) came in and I made 50 copies of his headshot while he was auditioning.  They may still be in my trunk.

    4.  Really, any Sarah Michelle Gellar soundtrack is probably worth purchasing.  Like that one where she makes magic food and there’s a dancing crab and Freddy Prince Junior.

    5.  The Top Gun soundtrack.  Try NOT to make out during “Take My Breath Away.”  Oh, it’s possible, I’ve done it like millions of times.

    6.  The Brokedown Palace soundtrack featuring tracks by Sarah Brightman and Plumb.  The song Damaged by Plumb is about a girl who is sad and alone and has a lot of regrets.  Maybe you can relate to it.  I just listen to it over and over and over again for the catchy melody.

    7.  The My So-Called Life soundtrack.  Except it doesn’t include the Buffalo Tom song that plays during the scene where Jordan Catalano approaches Angela in slow motion flannel glory and finally holds her hand in front of all their friends.  Sadly, the importance of this gesture has not been lost in adulthood.

    8.  The Baz Luhrmann Romeo and Juliet soundtrack.  There’s a lot of good stuff on here but the best is the instrumental love theme.  If you position yourself in front of a mirror in a dimly lit room, you can pretend to be both Claire AND Leo as they meet through the fish tank, make out in the elevator, and then tragically discover the others identity.  (Warning: this can lead to smashing your own nose during the kissing part).

    9.  Really, any Claire Danes soundtrack unless they made a soundtrack of the non-musical Les Miserables because it makes more sense just to buy the musical soundtrack.

    10.  “Rush Rush” single by Paula Abdul.  Fun facts: 1)Keanu Reeves is in the music video. 2)I used to practice slow dancing and talking sexy while this song played in my room, summer of ‘92.  This was the same summer I got a pet rat and named her Christian Slater.  When she died I ran to tell my mom and she said, “Oh no, was it drugs?”  To be fair, my Christian Slater died right on the heels of River Phoenix and Kurt Cobain.

    11.  The Armageddon soundtrack.  I like to pretend I’m Liv Tyler saying good bye to Bruce Willis before he (SPOILER ALERT) sacrifices himself to save the world.

    12.  The Lord of the Rings soundtrack.  I like to pretend I’m Liv Tyler pledging my (SPOILER ALERT) Elfin devotion to Strider.

    13.  The Best of Tom Petty OR Why Steve Almond never fell in love with me and instead married ANOTHER Erin who probably agrees that Free Fallin’ is for losers.  How can any song that starts out on a dirty road, starts out kinda slow be BAD?  It’s a METAPHOR Steve, he didn’t REALLY free fall.

    14.  The Boys soundtrack.  This is that movie where Winona Ryder is in a mental institution but not Girl, Interrupted.  Don’t you sometimes fantasize about being institutionalized and wandering around medicated, writing in a journal, and staring wisely out barred windows as you slowly fade from the world?  Like a vacation.

    15.  The Back to the Future soundtrack because The Power of Love is literally about the power of love and that is an important subject.  I used to simultaneously want to KISS and BE Marty McFly.  I’m pretty sure that’s still how I form crushes.

    16.  The Sneaker Pimps.  I don’t know the name of a specific album but I forced my first boyfriend to play three songs on loop when we made out.  Apparently I dry hump like I write.

    17.  Rap Song.  That’s not the real name of it but that’s what I named it in my iTunes because, besides Vanilla Ice, it’s the only rap included in my 153 song collection.  It’s by Snoop Dog and it makes me want to commit violent crimes and fuck shit up and then have a gin and then some juice.

    18.  End of the Road by Boyz to Men.  If you are keen to slow dance, there is no other choice.

    19.  Pieces of You by Jewel.  Jewel suggests that maybe we hate people because they have pieces of us in them.  Fucking profound.  A lot more profound than say, Belle and Sebastian who stole their name from a really sad cartoon about orphans and a large white dog.  I used to get cold watching that.  Inside and out.

    20.  Stockings By the Fire.  This Christmas compilation is a Starbucks classic.  I played it on repeat this Christmas when I was on a no sugar diet and baking cookies for my family.  During the cover of that Joni Mitchell song where she wants a river to skate away on I shoved a giant spoonful of dough in my mouth then burst into tears.