Tiny Bit of Crazy

A chronical of the laughter, revelations and transformations that are possible when you embrace the crazy

If You Can’t Beat ’em… April 16, 2012

I had a little run in with Chris’s crazy neighbor the other day. Remember her?  Well for the last year she’s gone out of her way to avoid talking to me, even as she went out of her way to talk to everyone else, including Chris’s daughters and their friends, routinely holding them captive on the sidewalk or half inside their cars.

But apparently she’s had a change of heart.

It started small – one day last week I passed her on the sidewalk and she made a random comment about something to do with her kids and playing in the parking lot.  I offered an unconvincing laugh and something along the lines of “oh… hmmm” as I continued walking. She called something else after me as I turned the corner so I gave an even less convincing head nod and vague hand wave as I continued on my way. (At that point it occurred to me at perhaps Chris and his girls simply aren’t rude enough.)

Then this week, as I walked up the sidewalk toward Chris’s house, she came out of her house, her gaze locked on me, and I knew with certainty that we were going to have a conversation.

Part of me was a little excited that I was going to get a “Neighbor Lady” story of my own to share when everyone else told theirs.

As we came face to face in front of her car, she reached out to put her hand on my arm, surprising me so much that I froze in my tracks, thus eliminating any small hope of escape that might have existed.

“Can you talk to Chris about,” she said, and my brain immediately shifted into slow motion and several things moved through my mind:

“She has a problem with Chris?”

“How can she have a problem with Chris? Nobody ever has a problem with Chris.”

“What could this bitch possibly have to say about my boyfriend, and why does her tone suggest I’m his mother?”

“Should I set my bags down in case I need to scratch her eyes out?”

And then I realized she was still talking, so I clicked my brain back into gear and rewound the tape so I could get the rest of her sentence. Which was:

“…about recycling.”

Ok, so I should explain. Chris doesn’t actually recycle. I know, its shocking and you’re probably suddenly worried that you’ll be guilty by association for reading a blog by a person who is in a relationship with a person who doesn’t recycle. (Don’t pretend you weren’t doing it.) I don’t want to get sidetracked from this story with a meta discussion about social shame and recycling, so I’ll just say that I asked him why he doesn’t recycle a few months ago, and what I took from the conversation is that he’s not adamantly opposed to recycling like some right-wing nut who thinks it’s another way for the government to control us. It’s more that he sees it as just one more thing to coordinate and deal with on top of all the other things he has to deal with and coordinate in his life. I got the impression that if someone else wanted to take responsibility for it, he wouldn’t object.

So back to my conversation with the Neighbor Lady.

Once I process her statement, I realize she’s staring at me waiting for a response. My liberal shame and social guilt is quickly replaced with glee as I realize she’s giving me blog content.

Me: oh yeah…um, well… sure…

NL: Because really, he should recycle. Why doesn’t he recycle?

Me: Yeah…I don’t know. He’s quirky like that.

NL: I can get him a bin. I think if we just make it really easy for him, we can get him to do it.

Did you see what she did there? “If WE just make it really easy for him.” WE. Apparently she and I are now a team. Apparently since she couldn’t get rid of me, she’s going to partner up with me.

My personal opinions on recycling are replaced by my desire to not be a team with her.

Me: ah? uh huh…

NL: I went through his garbage the other day and I noticed that it’s mostly plastics and so if he even just started with that…

Yes, she said that. Unabashedly. I had to contain my glee at how good a story this was going to be.

Me: yeah…he does use a lot of plastic…

I say this just to have something to say, but I then immediately feel disloyal. Saying something like that is not going to demonstrate that I’m on Chris’s team, not hers.

NL: I mean, if he just did plastics and maybe some cans…

Me: yeah, that would make a difference

Crap! I’m the worst teammate ever. I’m torn between getting away and getting more material.

NL: But really, why won’t he recycle?

Me: ahh, yeah. I don’t know…he has a thing about it…?

I know it doesn’t sound like it, but this is actually me being a good teammate. I’m not going to explain to her why he’s not recycling because that will reveal too much about him. But I’m also not willing to engage her in a conversation about the reasons against recycling because that will make it look like I care what she thinks.

NL: You know, if he doesn’t start recycling its going to make the trash pick up cost more. You need to talk to him! For everyone’s sake. They’re already doing it in Alexandria. 

Me: Oh really? I’ll tell him that.

Part of me is shamefully, secretly, enjoying her presumption that I have power over Chris – a presumption based in a recognition of my legitimacy as his long-term girlfriend. She’s gone from inviting Chris to the singles group at her church, to assuming I’m the kind of woman who is in charge of her man. I have this urge to go with it, to let us be those suburban women who stand on the sidewalks of their subdivisions, possibly with a glass of wine in the early evening, talking about “our men” and how hard it is to keep them in line.

.

Worst. Teammate. Ever.

.

NL: You know he has daughters? Who are educated!

Her tone implies this could be new information for me. I hate her again. I start to walk away.

Me: yes, he certainly does.

NL: They are going to college. They understand…

Me: yes, they do go to college…

Now I’m laughing. I’m suddenly giddy with how ridiculous this conversation is, how much material she’s feeding me. I want to ask her again about going through the garbage, but instead I keep walking.

NL: Tell him to recycle for them! So they are proud…

Unmoved by the argument, I keep moving, not looking back at her.

NL: They’ll get married some day! I assume. They are going to have babies. And those babies are going to want a grandpa who recycles!

This makes me stop, and I look at her for a second, tempted to tell her that of all her arguments, that’s her worst. There are few topics more likely to agitate Chris than talking about him becoming a grandpa, and all that that implies.

I try to stop laughing long enough to give some sort of appropriate response. But then decide that laughing is probably as appropriate a response as any.

She’s yelling things after me as I walk away, things about how she teaches recycling in the schools and can teach him. I offer a vague wave of my hand as I continue walking away, trying not to skip in my excitement to tell this story to Chris.

.

Of course, I’m sure you all now realize that as long as Chris lives there, he can never, ever, start recycling.

Sorry Earth, but seriously, what did you expect?  I’m a terrible teammate.

 

Two Timing March 22, 2012

Dear Tiny Bit of Crazy,

I’ve been neglecting you. I know this. But I have an excuse.

I hope you’ll hear me out.

At first it might seem like a bad thing, but if you keep an open mind, I think you’ll see, this is good for everyone.

So, the truth is… I’ve been writing for another blog. But not just any blog, and not just writing either… I’m the managing editor for an awesome new blog about storytelling. Its SpeakeasyDC’s blog. I’ve been working on it for a few months, and it just launched this week.

I’ve only written two posts so far, but I’ve spent all the rest of my time finding the other posts, editing them, thinking of new themes and ongoing series to make sure there would always be fresh content. Making sure it doesn’t get stale, or look neglected.

What’s that you say? Like you? Oh.

Oh, well, yeah. I guess so. But only because I’ve learned from you, learned how not having reliably fresh content can kill the momentum. See? I’m better because of you.

But I’m not leaving you, I swear. You’ll always be part of my life, you’ll always be the first place I turn to record all the crazy. I promise. But this other blog is new, its young and it needs me more. But it won’t always be this way, I promise.

But I’ve also learned something in my time away. As much as I love you, TBoC, I’ve always struggled with an internal debate between being a blogger and a Blogger. Being a Blogger requires much more effort, much more intention not to mention attention, and I’ve been afraid to make that commitment, afraid I wouldn’t be able to follow through. I just don’t have as much source material as niche bloggers, like those lucky mommy bloggers for example.

What? Oh yeah,thing did start to look better for a minute after Ambien Chris came on the scene, but there’s only so far that could have taken us.

But aside from the issue of source material, which I think falls into the attention category, I’ve never been sure if I’d want to be a Blogger even if I had the content, which is the intention, I think. As I talked about here, I think I’m happier behind the scenes. And my time with the SpeakeasyDC blog has helped me to confirm that.

I’ve loved the time I’ve spent thinking about topics, coordinating writers, editing posts and figuring out my editorial calendar. On a bad day, editing someone’s blog, discussing a new series, or obsessing over the editorial calendar cheers me up.

But it won’t always require this much of my time, I swear. Pretty soon habits will be in place, routines created, short cuts identified, and content stock piled. And then I’ll be back, TBoC, I’ll be back. Not that I’ve ever really even left you. I think of you daily, writing posts for you in my head several times a day. I just haven’t been able to sneak away and write them.

Except for this one, so hey! maybe this is the beginning of the shift! Maybe the worst is over and before we know it we’ll be back to our old ways, spending hours together, obsessing over witty phrases, when to isolate a line for emphasis, and which tags will offer the best SEO.

Just like old times. Only better, because now I know myself better, I know what I want to be when I grow up, and that can only be in both our best interests.

Take a look at what I’ve been doing while I’ve been gone. I think you’ll like it. Or at least respect it.

This is going to be a weekly column (don’t get jealous – I’m not nearly as funny there as I am here) – http://www.speakeasydc.com/2012/03/social-storytelling-vs-performance-storytelling/

and then this one :http://www.speakeasydc.com/2012/03/choose-your-words-carefully/

And just know, Tiny Bit of Crazy, whatever else happens, you’ll always be my first love. That’s got to count for something, right?

Faithfully,

Mer

 

 

The Top 10 Reasons Why Mer Would Make a Spectacularly Awful Super Hero August 11, 2011

Remember a few weeks ago when I was all “I’m a guest blogger!” ? over at Do These Kids Make Me Look Crazy? (Btw, the answer is, “li’l bit”)

So now its Tara’s turn to be a guest blogger on my page.  And she’s not holding back.

But before you read it, I’d just like to say that while I know its hilarious, and hilarious always equals “totally true”, there are a few things I would just like to comment on before you start reading why I’d make a terrible super hero.

First of all, I did not watch every episode of 90210. I totally missed like at least half of the final season because I was in college with my own “for real” drama, which it turns out is way more interesting than TV drama. (But only because they didn’t have reality TV back then, cause that shit beats real life every time.) However, Luke Perry is probably at least 70% to blame for me failing 9th grade math.

Second, yes my boyfriend is super cute, isn’t he? (But um, pssst, Tara? Even though I love you like a sister and I’d do anything for you, get too friendly with him and I’ll cut you and not feel bad.  Just sayin’).

Third, I would argue that points 4 and 9 actually are super powers, not anti-super powers, as Tara believes.

Here’s why: #4 keeps people off-balance and often leads to great spontaneous comedic moments. Especially when small children repeat me. And funny is always good.

Always.

And worth corrupting minors and offending grandmothers and priests for.

As for #9 – this pretty much means I get whatever I want. In high school I had a TV and VCR,  in my room, along with a phone and a double bed that was perfect for sleep overs. Tara was always jealous of my sweet set up (made more sweet, I like to believe, by the gray and pink early 90’s inspired design elements), but did she ever think to wonder how I got all that? And all the traffic tickets I’ve gotten out of, the jobs I’ve kept despite gross incompetence? You’d be surprised what a few tears can do…they even led to Eunice Kennedy Shriver being nice to me for 5 whole minutes.  If that’s not a super power, I don’t know what is…

Anyway…I’ll let you all read her post and see what you think, because now that she’s reminded me about the squirrels, I have to figure out where the bathroom is in my office building (again), so I cry in private.

————

Remember a few weeks ago, when Mer was a guest contributor on my blog?  She was all, “Tara almost starved her children because she’d rather see their cold, dead, emaciated bodies lying on the floor than crack an egg or risk getting burned on the stove top.  So I had to drive down there just to make those sweet babies some pancakes and rice krispie treats.”

Um, that was an exaggeration.  They’re not that sweet.  And they’re no longer babies who can be fed via my breastmilk, fully saturated with chocolate and caffeine, which is why they are in a constant state of near malnutrition.  Finally, they certainly weren’t near death, as several friends had dropped off some treats in the last month or so and we hadn’t even resorted to picking the last of the strawberries out of my neighbor’s garden.

So don’t go thinking Mer’s some sort of superhero or anything.

Truly, she’d make the worst superhero ever.   I mean, sure, she could rock a pair of thigh-high boots and her cleavage would look majestic in a sequined spandex top.  But that’s where the likeness ends, folks.

And because she was so focused on bragging about how she can melt butter and marshmallows together in a single pot, she didn’t stop to think about how I know approximately 134,577 secrets about her.  I’ve known her since we were twelve years old and we’re now, like, 100. I know that she once owned a Thighmaster.  I know that if a clown even looks at her, she’ll cry. I know that she’s watched every single episode of Beverly Hills 90210 and lusted after Dylan McKay and his scarred eyebrow so hard that she almost failed ninth grade math.  I even know how and with whom she lost her virginity.  The first, second, and third time, mind you.

(Dry spells that last longer than 1 year = renewed virginity, y’all.)

See, she forgot about my extraordinary knowledge base in her quest to showcase her ability to hypnotize my hungry children with her fancy pancake shaper-thingies and a liberal use of sprinkles.  She also failed to consider that I have an underdeveloped conscience, a verbal filter that crapped out on me the day my husband ran for the hills, and an active aversion to the delete key on my laptop.

As an additional factor, she’s got this really cute boyfriend whom she’s still trying to impress.

(Hiiiiiii, Chris.)

Anyway, let’s talk about the Top 10 Reasons Why Mer Would Make a Spectacularly Awful Superhero:

1)      She has absolutely no sense of direction.  None.  I’m not just talking about east vs. west.  No, I mean left/right and up/down, too.

2)      She has no pain tolerance.  Like, she can barely handle a hang nail without excessive whining, an unveiling of her wound as though she’s displaying a newborn baby, and at least three phone calls to her mom, who studied homeopathic medicine for this very reason.

3)      She loses stuff.  Aside from obvious stuff, like her virginity and self-control around M&Ms, she has also lost tickets to an awesome concert, at least 50 dollars in cash, all her tax records from 2008 and 2009, and the left shoe from a pair of kick-ass heels that she once wore to an event attended by the Kennedy family.

4)      She really enjoys using the word “f*ck”.  In front of children, preferably.  And it’s done in a sneaky, non-angry way, so you don’t even have any warning.

5)      She absolutely falls apart when she’s around someone who is in a crisis situation.  Like, if you are ever in a life-threatening situation, please understand that you will die.  And as you are taking your final breath, there’s a decent chance she might reach out to you for comfort, as watching you die is obviously very traumatizing and will linger in her mind long after your wretched death.

6)      She doesn’t like being too hot.  Or too cold.  Or wet.  Basically, she really can’t handle the elements.  Like, if she could fly, instead of being all, “Omg, I can fly”, she’d just get super pissed if a bug flew in her mouth or she got sunburn.   Oh, and “camping” is not a term that she’s ever going to look favorably upon, no matter what she tells her ex-military boyfriend.

7)      She’s not brave.  At all.  Once she became nearly catatonic for several hours after watching a momma squirrel eat her baby squirrels on her back porch.  We were all super worried about her and ended up having to stop making little baby-squirrel-screaming noises every time she walked into the room.

8)      I can’t even bear to discuss the concept of “Mer” and “weapons” in the same sentence.

9)      She’s a crier.  Big time.  She tries to normalize it by saying that my ability to hold my shit together when I watch the final scene in romantic comedies means I’m “dead inside”, but my extensive experience as her friend tells me that this girl is a crier who can be tipped into hysterics about as quickly as it takes a momma squirrel to eat her first baby.

10)   She’s a little bit racist, so she’d probably only be willing to save white people or Asian babies. Okay, that’s a lie.  She’s not racist at all and she has no particular affinity toward Asian babies.  But when she read this, she was probably like, “What the f*ck?  If I could stop crying long enough to find my left shoe and figure out which way was south, I’d totally kick her ass.”

There.  You see?

I’m super confident that this list has thoroughly convinced you that Mer should never, ever, EVER be considered a superhero.  Well, not for the general public anyway.

The thing is . . . she’s kind of my superhero.  Sure, she might not be brave, or organized, or particularly good at problem-solving in a crisis, but she is stellar at feeding my little ones, driving seven hours in order to spend New Year’s Eve making me margaritas and watching Redbox movies, reading all the drivel I write on the internet, listening to me whine about my failed marriage, lending me her Thighmaster, letting me making fun of her guest post on her blog, and agreeing that I’m smarter and prettier.

Okay, I may have made that last part up.

Regardless, she’s mine.  So, hands off.

 

Yeah…I’m Kind of a Big Deal…. July 5, 2011

I’m a guest blogger!

This is like, a big deal in the blogging world. Especially when you area  lower case “b” blogger who isn’t sure if she wants to become an upper case “B” Blogger, but might, because like, Bloggers have a shot at making some money or at least getting free stuff once in a while, while bloggers just get friends saying “Cute blog post. I mean, I didn’t finish it, but I’m sure it had a great ending,” or their mom’s heavy sighing when you write about how you keep forgetting your house keys when you go out with your boyfriend. But Blogging is a commitment, and takes work. You have to be serious about it, and frankly I don’t do serious all that well.  So I’m just hanging as a blogger, but flirting at the edges of making the leap to Blogger.

But I have this BFF, Tara, who is totally a Blogger, like she has tons of people who read her and she’s sorta famous in the area where she lives. Strangers stop her at the gym and her kid’s school and stuff to say they like her blog.  Because she’s totally hilarious. And now she’s hanging around with all the other cool super popular mommy Blogger chics and they  all follow each other and comment on each others blogs and are always like “OMG you’re SO funny,” “NO YOU’RE so funny,”  “I worship you.” “I want to BE you.”

Not that I care.  I’m all “whateves, I could be at the popular kids table if I wanted to be. I just don’t want to be.”

It’s exactly like when Tara and I were in high school, except then she was in Honor Society and I wasn’t. Which meant she got to go to the cafeteria in the mornings with all the other Honor Society kids and have orange juice and donuts while braiding each others hair. Or something, I don’t really know because I wasn’t there. But as I always told Tara when she’d ask why I didn’t join:  “I could be in it if I wanted to be, I just don’t want to be.” And I really didn’t want to be. Everyone was so serious all the time, and I didn’t much see the point, aside from the donuts, but my mom would totally have bought me donuts for breakfast if I asked her to. And this way I got to watch Beverly Hills 90210 instead of doing my math homework.

Anyway, Tara and I have been friends for like, a billion years or so and in that time our friendship has renewed or reinvented itself like a million times. We’re really more like sisters at this point, in the sense that she couldn’t get rid of me if she tried.

I was calling myself a writer and blogging long before she was, but then she jumped into the world of over-sharing and thinking every detail of your life is worth sharing, and it turns out, we’re BOTH writers.

I mean, who could have seen that coming? (although we did co-write two short stories for extra credit in high school English, which I still have, and one day will scan in and post on one of our blogs for the world to see our early genius).

I happen to think its pretty awesome that given the divergent paths our lives have taken that they are intersecting in this way at this time in our lives. Hence the excitement over the guest blogging.

(It’s so awesome, in fact, that its possible we might, maybe, be working on a book of personal essays together… possibly. Nothing for sure yet. But how cool would that be, right? But for now, lets just keep it between us.)

But enough about that.  Go read my blog on her site – Do These Kids Make Me Look Crazy?

And then go through her site and read her other posts. But first promise you’ll come back to my blog and still read my ramblings even though I don’t have ridiculously cute kids to feed me content all the time… Pinky swear. Ok, thanks. Now go.

 

It Doesn’t Take Much August 13, 2010

Filed under: Home,Work — Meredith @ 3:28 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Two things happened yesterday that feel sort of like milestone moments.

I like milestone moments. Mostly because I’m a ceremony whore and like believing that almost everything is a big deal on some level. So you might not agree that these two things are milestones of a sort, but I do, and that’s really all that matters.

1. I joined OK Cupid. This is even by my standards a relatively minor milestone, but it counts. It signals an official acknowledgement that I’m ready and willing to date. Not just to date, but to endure the particular…um, let’s call it adventure, that is on-line dating. But I have to admit that OKCupid is kind of fun.

First of all its free, so no pressure to get an ROI.

Second, it doesn’t take itself very seriously, so there are very silly questions and weird tests you can take to see what your dating personality is.

This is mine: 

Loving, hopeful, open. Likely to carry on a romance from afar. You are The Window Shopper.

You take love as opportunities come, which can lead to a high-anxiety, but high-flying romantic life. You’re a genuinely sweet person, not saccharine at all, so it’s likely that the relationships you have had and will have will be happy ones. You’ve had a fair amount of love experience for your age, and there’ll be much more to come.

Part of why we know this is that, of all female types, you are the most prone to sudden, ferocious crushes. Your results indicate that you’re especially capable of obsessing over a guy you just met. Obviously, passion like this makes for an intense existence. It can also make for soul-destroying letdowns.

Your ideal match is someone who’ll love you back with equal fire, and someone you’ve grown to love slowly. A self-involved or pessimistic man is especially bad. Though you’re drawn to them, avoid artists at all costs.

And apparently, I should consider these types of men:

Steady & mature. The Gentleman.

For anyone looking for an even-keeled, considerate lover, you’re their man. You’re sophisticated. You know what you want both in a relationship and outside of it. You have a substantial romantic side, and you’re experienced enough sexually to handle yourself in that arena, too. Your future relationships will be long-lasting; you’re classic “marrying material,” a prize in the eyes of many.

It’s possible that behind it all, you’re a bit of a male slut. Your best friends know that in relationships you’re fundamentally sex-driven. You’re a safe, reliable guy, who does get laid. In a lot of ways, you’re like a well-worn, comfortable pair of socks. Did you ever jack off into one of those? All the time.

Your ideal mate is NOT a nut-job. She is giving and loving, like you, but also experienced.

I know – so accurate its scary, right?

There is also this thing called “quick match” which is where you are given profiles but no names and you rate them on a scale of 1-5. If you rate them a 4 or a 5, the site will contact them and see if they rate you a 4 or a 5 too. It’s a virtual version of the childhood ritual of passing a note that says “I like you. Do you like me? Check Yes or NO.” Its quaint.

Third, some of my girlfriends are on it too, so we can sit on the phone and laugh together at the bad pictures and stupid profiles. Which takes the elementary school note passing experience and upgrades it to high school yearbook mockery. Good times.

I have nothing to show for my efforts yet, other than these small moments of amusement and a mental pat on the back for taking the leap, but it hasn’t even been 24 hours yet. For some reason I’m particularly drawn to two guys who are only in DC part-time. They feel like a good starting point for getting into this game again…

2. I was hired as a paid blogger by a marketing company. I think most people will agree (other than maybe my Grandma), that this is the more significant of the two events. It was sort of a fluke – I saw an ad on Craig’s list, sent a note asking for more info, was given a test assignment, told my work was A+ quality (which instantly set off my bullshit meter, so I did a bunch of research on the company, but apparently it’s legit), and I was sent a list of companies and a schedule for producing blogs for them. It’s basically 300-500 word advertisements for these companies, but whatever, I can make around $100 a week. The really awesome thing about this particular milestone is that it marks the first time I’m getting paid for something I wrote. It’s a significant step toward me a)taking myself seriously as a writer, b)earning a living as a writer c) being able to go to Europe this spring while still being able to eat and have a life until then. And it’s actually kind of fun and interesting researching different details about these industries and finding a way to make it look like I’m not shilling for the company but still making at least 3 references to the company.  So far today I’ve written two blogs about media purchasing companies. I’m going to be an expert pretty soon.

I’ve honestly been feeling a little like I’ve been treading water in my life for the last few months. Probably because I’ve just been treading water 🙂 Which was fine for a while, I needed to regain some equilibrium in my life. But for the last couple of months I’ve been getting bored and antsy to have something, anything really, change in my life. I’m done treading water, I’m ready to swim. But only in the shallow end, and with floaties.

But at least I’m finally in the pool.

 

 
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