Friday, December 29, 2006

The Deuce

Last night, bad back and all, I went to the Holiday Bowl to watch CAL kill Texas A&M 45 to 10.

Before I left, I told myself I wouldn't drink, fearful that something bad might happen while I walked around. Oddly, I did drink (shocker)...and I started walking MUCH better. But we all know what happens when you drink a lot of beer...you gotta pee, and pee mightily.

I, like you, hate port-o-potties even if they are a necessary evil. Luckily, after tailgating for a few hours, I walked over to one and there was no line...just one guy inside. And man, I had to go.

As I waited, this fairly attractive blonde walked up to me, and asked if I was waiting in line to use the restroom. As a personal rule, I'm not one to make small talk in two places (1) the gym and (2) when waiting to use the restroom. Just a personal life rule.

So, I turned, told her I was waiting in line, and went back to staring at the port-o-pottie door. Hopeful, my turn would come soon.

She tried making small talk again...and I gave her more one-word answers...never removing my gaze from my door. God, I needed to pee.

Now, I don't know if it was because I wasn't paying attention to her or if she was actually curious, but she then asked:

You're not going to drop a deuce in there, are you?

Shocked that I was being asked this question by not only a complete stranger...but a young, attractive blonde complete stranger...I removed my pleading stares from the bathroom door and turned back to answer her.

No. I am not going to "drop a deuce." And I turned back to look at the door. My finger air quotes hanging in the air. Damn. Still occupied.

That's good. I hate using one of those things after someone takes a dump.

Again, now chuckling, I remove my wanting gaze from the door, tighten my thighs a little more as we are getting into emergency phase, and just look at this person who is having this conversation with me. I am about to retort, when I hear Click...Boom.

The port-o-pottie is free.

I walk in, do my business...and as I leave, there are now three girls standing in line. The one I was talking to lets out a gasp of joy, and YELLS Wow, that was fast. I guess you really didn't drop a deuce. This of course makes everyone in earshot look at her, then me, then the port-o-pottie, then me again.

Nope. Sure didn't, I suavely replied....as I walked back to drink more stupid beer.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Thirty One and 1/365th Years Old

As I have mentioned before in previous blogs, I am more than a wee bit allergic to peanuts. Things like "not breathing" and "dying" may ensue from my consumption of them. Obviously, I try not to eat them (unless I am running a marathon that day).

A day after I turned 31, this changed.

The day I turned 31 was great. I met up with a bunch of old friends...and we went drinking in Newport. Although having a birthday so close to Christmas usually sucks more than a toe sucker at a podiatry conference (weird), I was surrounded by my life-long best friends, my girlfriend, and even some close friends from high school that I hadn't see in many, many years. All-in-all, it was a terrific night. I even remained in enough control to (a) not puke and (b) not get hung over. Top of the world on December 23rd, I was. I was the king of my domain!

The next morning, I woke up at my friend's house, and we decided to go get some breakfast. Of course this was after he graciously offered to make breakfast...but my guilt factor kicked in, and I decided we should go out. That moment still lingers in my mind...like the Peanut God's last ditch effort for me NOT to choose the wrong path. Damn you, Peanut God and your taunting ways.

We ended up going to get some dim sum at a place called Sam Woo (as in, the whistle goes...) in Irvine. I have had dim sum millions of times. Me not so dumb to eat some dim sum.

Now to keep this all in perspective, I am eating with Chris, who has seen me have peanut allergies before...I'm not too worried about him and my soon-to-be-peanut reaction. He is an old pro at watching me almost die. Sometimes, he even plans it.

On the other hand, we have Tauni, my new girlfriend, who needs to be at the San Diego airport by about 5:00 PM to catch her flight home to Washington so she can spend Christmas Eve with her family. It's about 11:15 AM in the OC...and someone I have been dating for about a month is about to see me at my emotional, psychological, and physical worst. She also is on a time schedule. So...absolutely no added pressure when I ingested dim sum that must have been so dim that I didn't know that there was sum (ha ha) pure peanut product in there somewhere. I gave Chris a look, and sprinted from the table to the store next door. I could instantly tell this was not the slow moving, slowly dying reaction. This was the big daddy. The "I swallowed a whole-lot-of-nut...and I wasn't in no porn" kind of reaction. I was in trouble.

One of the many things that happens to me when I get the worse of my two allergic reactions is that my mouth INSTANTLY and RIDICULOUSLY overly salivates. Not just kind of. Not just a little bit. I mean, I produce GALLONS of saliva that I either need to expel, swallow, or keep in my mouth like a chipmunk until I am literally bursting with spit. Dude, maybe I am a porn star. Anyway, this became problematic in the store when I tried to talk to my Spanish speaking sales associate in a time of double-ultra-cross-cultural-miscommunication.

Me: We i yo be-e-il (Hey, you try talking with a mouth full of saliva).
Spanish Speaking Sales Associate: WHAT?
Me: Sowwy. We i yo be-e-il?
Spanish Speaking Sales Associate: Where is Benny Hill?
Me: Oooo. I sa, We i yo be-e-il. I a vewy si
Spanish Speaking Sales Associate: *Questioning his level of English Comprehension*
Me: *GULP* *GAG* Where is your BENADRYL???
Spanish Speaking Sales Associate: We no really have mediceen. Yo puedo ass overdere. *Indiscriminately points off to more Spanish speaking people sitting around a pink-macramed hovel that had Chinese and Spanish lettering on it*
Me: Ummmm...
Spanish Speaking Sales Associate: Dere ees alsoo un CVS behind dis building.
Me: MONEY

And I left. Frantically walking and spitting towards the CVS. I get inside, down some Benadryl..and figure I am in the clear. This course of action always works. Not on 31 and 1/365ths, though.

I start walking back to the restaurant: embarrassed and tired. But something strange is happening. I'm not getting better. I am breaking out in hives, and I feel like my esophagus is trying to escape from my body through my chest like in Alien. And then the unthinkable. I puked. And puked. And puked some more. I think I puked so hard my shoes were going to come up next. I NEVER non-alcohol-induced vomit, so I was obviously concerned. I could just see Tauni (Mark never pukes twice when we eat at home) and Chris (Dude...would you just die already; I'm tired of this half-way shit) waiting for me back at the restaurant. I was was feeling pretty low.

I run into Chris, and he asks if I want to go to the emergency room. I'm confused, exhausted, and covered with freshly eaten shrimp dim sum. Did you know that freshly eaten shrimp dim sum is the new corduroy? I bet you didn't.

Yeah. I guess we should.

And this is where the hilarity begins.

We go to a clinic, not the hospital. There is a crack staff of three gents: the male receptionist, the male nurse, and the Beverly Hills 90210 doctor waiting for me. You saw this coming, didn't you? I couldn't have a normal staff, could I?

I already know the drill. (1) I give you my driver's license and my insurance card...and (2) you send me right back. Peanut allergies are the king of the emergency room jungle. I am the top of the food chain, baby. But the male receptionist guy says:

Can you fill out this paper work, please?

And I look at a sheet that is blurred from my doubling over in pain. I scribble my name, my driver's license number, my elementary school name, my shoe size, my favorite Thundercat...until I plead with Sir Dumbfuck:

Can I please fill this out later? I'm having a peanut allergy here...I need help.

After a few moments of contemplation on his part...he introduces me to Alberto, my male nurse. Alberto somehow still doesn't know why I am there...even though he heard me talking to the male receptionist. After he asks me five different ways WHY I AM THERE... I say :

Me: Look, man. I told you already. I ate peanuts.
Alberto: Are you allergic?
Me: YES! That is why I am here.
Alberto: You shouldn't eat peanuts if you are allergic to them. That is pretty dangerous.

This wasn't the last of his beauties. While I am still writhing in pain, and ever-so-patiently waiting for my medicine to kick in...he says:

You know, you should stay away from peanuts. Those things will kill you.

I just stare at him. Just stare. What am I supposed to say?

Peanut allergies are the absolute worst. Stop eating them. Your heart can stop. Did you know your heart could just stop? Bam. Dead.

More staring from me.

But this guy was nothing compared to my lame-ass doctor. He has signs up for Botox everywhere. Yeah. Botox. Because when I think of an emergency...I think Botox. After rattling off a laundry list of directions for me to follow (while I am in a medicine-induced fog), he cares enough to ask: How did you guys find me? Did you find us on the internet?

I'm near death. Does this matter?

He also gave such keen directions as taking some Benadryl "once every eight hours for the next 18 hours." That's not a typo.

He spoke while he begrudgingly wrote my directions out for me. I think this was to help him spell...and because he really, truly, loved to hear himself speak. Don't kindergartners speak out loud while they write?

But the best part of this entire operation was that instead of giving me an I.V., the Keystone Cops decided to shoot me up in my ass. Which leads to what happened on 31 and 2/365ths until this very moment.

Those fucking shots they gave me tightened up my entire ass (not a small area)...and I have been suffering through the worst back pain in my life the past two days. I have had fun CRAWLING TO THE BATHROOM. It is also a good time being woken up with back spasms so intense...I'm not sure if it is my back or my screaming which was waking me up. Good times, indeed!

My 31st year has NOT gotten off to a roaring start (unless you count my yelling and screaming with my back). I'm still in good spirits...and might even go get some dim sum to celebrate. Chris, just kill me now.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Coffee Bandits

I'm not a chauvinistic pig. Really. I'm not. What happened to me Wednesday morning happened to me for two very simple reasons:

(1) I'm male and
(2) The assholes were female.

Some women who read this may disagree. That is most likely because you are in denial or are like the two biotches I am going to describe. Either way, you suck...and men don't like you. So, without further ado...I bring you...The Coffee Bandits.

Before class this morning, I stopped off at Starbucks to help prepare for the day. There was one spot close to the door, next to an occupied, old, white Nissan of some sort. There were two people inside the car, just sitting in the front seat. I have no idea how long they were there, nor did I know what they were planning. No one knows what ridiculous lonely women plan when sitting in a beat-up old Nissan together. I would venture no one wants to know.

As I parked my car, the one in the driver seat FLUNG her door open into my spot; I still didn't think much of the situation. It might have an accident. It might have been rude. I was still half asleep and thinking about my class. I wasn't thinking about what the Wicked Witch of the West or her sidekick Toto were up to.

I navigated around the flung-open door and slowly cruised into my spot. I left my car, and started walking towards the front door of Starbucks. It was about 100 ft away. 100 ft that I will never forget.

As I walked past The Coffee Bandits, I noticed the women hushed their ever-so-important whispers for a moment in case I was eavesdropping or for some reason gave one flying fuck what they were talking about. But, as we all know, in the world of women...every man is trying to get into their "Secret Club of Secrets" and "Sex in the City Insights." If they ever find out why Carrie was so attracted to Mr Big...they will have us all figured out. NEVER. NEVER...NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAHHHHHhahahahahaaahaaa. Believe me. These were two scary-ass women (I'm not sure if they were scary ass-women).

When I was about 75 ft from the Starbucks front door, I heard the *click-clack, click-clack* of overly-weighed down heals of some sort racing up behind me. Imagine a women in a horror movie...in a garage..run-walking away from a murderer. Such purpose in those steps. Trying to escape death is a worthy cause to run-walk at any time. I found this sound odd at 8:45 in the morning in front of a Starbucks in the middle of San Diego.

Then, in a tornado-like fashion, the younger of the two cackling hens, presumably the daughter, RACED past me...seemingly beating me in a contest of "Who Can Get to the Line Inside of Starbucks First" that I had NO IDEA I had been entered into. I didn't even have my bib on. OK, I did...but I can be messy in the morning before my first cup of coffee. I didn't have my RACING bib on.

Anyway, we all know what a normal walking pace is. We have all seen it. And this chick didn't have it. She was on a mission to save a life. Maybe there was a fire. Or maybe there was a line inside of Starbucks to get into. She should have been equipped with sirens. "Siren Sirens"...get them this Christmas at your nearest "My-Wife-and-Daughter-Are-Bitches-R-Us."

"What the fuck?" I thought. "What the HELL is she doing?"

As she raced to the finish line and won the 100 meter dash, I audibly laughed out loud at her, drawing her attention. What these two idiots didn't understand is that had I gotten to the door before them (which I should have), I would have held the door open for them. Instead, the sniveling, younger, overly-dressed in winter coat and slacks one...was greeted by a long, sleepy customer-laden line. With me standing and laughing right behind her.

While the younger of the two was panting and waiting in the same line I would soon be in, the wrinkled and worn out older hag sped-walked (not run-walked, I presumed because she was suffering from years of run-walking past other people) by me and got to the door before me, too. I would have STILL held the door open for her...but no...she went inside without holding it open for me (even though her daughter was already in line and holding a spot for her)...and only slightly nudged the door open from the inside as I approached, and she released a HUGE "Would you HURRY up" Sigh. All I could think was: Wow...I'm not even awake yet...and these two are irritating the fuck out of me.

When I saddled up next to them in line, I shit you not, the two gave each other a knowing glance that I caught from beneath my sunglasses. The daughter looked at the mother with a "Mission Accomplished" look. There plan, concocted ALL THE WAY FROM THE CAR 101 ft away had worked. Way to go girls. You are the exact image your gender needs to promoting. Selfish. Plotting. Sickening. Score one for you!

As I stood behind them, I gigantic smirk on my face...my mind raced as quickly as the daughter had outside. I looked them up and down from behind my black-veiled eyes and followed their spines...and they both had it...that small Uriah Heep-esque curvature at the top one gets from years of quiet manipulation and Cagney and Lacey marathons on lonely Saturday nights on the Lifetime channel.

But God is funny and SO on my side sometimes.

Sadly for The Coffee Bandits, there were double registers open this morning at the Starbucks...and while they were still in the midst of ordering their Cup-O'-Eye-O'-Newt from Scott, I was simultaneously being helped by Patricia, my barista life savior. While Scott stumbled to translate the witch-like tones of the gruesome-bitchums, Patricia's expertise service got me in and out of the line before the incantations of my now mortal enemies were completed. Here's to Patricia!

I beamed as I turned and found one of the few cushy Starbucks seats still open. As a considerate male, I looked around and waited a few moments to see if the seat was actually in use, but simply unoccupied for a second. As I sat, The Coffee Bandits walked towards me.

I watched them, sunglasses still on, and was awestruck with amazement at the odd interaction between mother and daughter. The mom actually, and this REALLY happened, said to her daughter "You should have taken that seat while I finished ordering." The daughter looked back to see what seat was in question, and she saw me. Grinning from ear-to-ear, staring, smirking, and judging her every move. She abruptly turned away from my look and mumbled something inaudible to the mom. The mom, not-so-coyly turned to confirm whatever the daughter had said...and she too, not-so-slyly left my gaze. The whispered like they had in the car.

Oh my fucking god. They think I am flirting with them.

While we jockeyed with our eyes for about a minute, karma finished it's ruthless cycle, and "grande no whip iced mocha for Mark" rang throughout the Starbucks and into my very core of an amused soul. I floated to the counter...walking slowly...as I had outside. He he he.

But life is nothing if not a constant reminder about how ridiculous some women are. I turned back around and a different women...who SAW ME GET UP TO GET MY COFFEE, had already taken my seat and looked at me with innocent, doe-like eyes. I looked at her and shook my head. Small potatoes compared to The Coffee Bandits. She got a free pass.

It took every ounce of strength I had in my soul not to comment, gloat, or verbally mock these two pieces of work. In my head, many needed statements ran-walked from one side to the next. The one that stuck, "You should run faster next time, and that Prada bag is SO last year" was on the tip of my tongue...but I couldn't say it. Stupid politeness.

I left, joy and coffee-filled. Spine straight. I even held the door open for someone else, as I ventured off to my class at a slow, meandering pace.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Signs you are getting old

1. You wake up, and the first thought in your head isnt about work, sex, food...no...none of those.

The first thought in your head is: God, I can't wait to go to sleep tonight.


2. You are explaining slang/idioms to ESL students, and they ask for help defining what some slang they heard means...and you have never heard it before.

When ESL students are more hip than you...you're old.


3. If you can become sore from sleeping, you're old.


4. Begin any sentence at any time with: When I was your age...

You're old.


5. When you try to bring up 80's pop culture, and the person you're talking to responds: "I think I learned about that in school" or "Oh yeah, I saw that on VH1's I love the 80's"

You're old.

Monday, December 04, 2006

7 Days

I don't write this to be snide. I don't. But I'm not me, and I haven't been for awhile now. Seven days, as a matter of fact. The me I have become isn't the me I want to be. But this is me.

I got sick seven days ago, and it made me realize something. My life is out of control. And so am I. The things I do and the reasons I do them became unraveled when I altered my state of self neglect. I took the time to notice in between not sleeping and hacking up my insides, pouring them out with gusto. Regularity. In a way, becoming more aware of my breath and what it is I am.

When actions like "breathing" and "sleeping" were taken away from me the past seven days, I realized during my insomniac-haze that life is floating by. I am immersed in my own shit, like everyone else, surrounded by what I think my day entails. I am a moron.

Who am I to think that my life, my actions, and more importantly, that my inactions matter to anything outside my clouded fog of aimless lofting? Who am I to think that being sick changes anything, anyone, anytime? Who am I?

***And this is where I really go out there***

For seven days I have often wondered
Why my medicine-induced lack of slumber
Refused to take me out or under
Help me sleep
Help me breathe
Help me be
Help me, please.

***I'm back***

For seven days, everything has seemed insurmountably large and overwhelming. I look at stairs with spite and hate. I can feel my temples when I talk. Last night I dreamed that I was suffocating.

Thank God I am an optimist.

That is who I am.