Dear Man at Grocery Store

Dear Man at Grocery Store,

It was so kind of you to help me yesterday with my pumpkins. Being that the store was hellishly crowded with pesky Broncos fans and there were no carts to be had, I was forced to choose two pumpkins sized-to-carry, one in each arm. I know I looked a bit foolish standing in line behind you, as though I had not thought any of this through. Which is why when you so generously moved your things up on the conveyer belt to alleviate my discomfort I was impressed.

Meet my child, Megan Jr.

Even more impressive was when you took the pumpkins from my arms and set them down for me. At this point, I thought you a real gentleman.

But then, as men often do, you ruined it.

“Buying pumpkins for the kids to carve?”

…..

Um…no?

Look sir, I can tell by your white hair, sunglasses and unnatural October tan that you are “old-school”, but please. Please answer me this:

1.) Since when is pumpkin carving relegated solely to children? The only Halloween activity I see as exclusively kid domain is Trick-or-Treating. Scary movies, haunted houses, parties, costumes and CARVING PUMPKINS are still fun for grown-ups. Don’t try to take away the only part of Halloween I still voluntarily participate in.

And 2.) more importantly, what about me and my pumpkins exactly suggested that I have children?

Consider for a moment that a lone 27-year-old woman in a suburban grocery store buying pumpkins a few days before Halloween might NOT be married and strapped down with 7 children. And consider that the very notion of having children of pumpkin-carving age is quite alarming to this woman, even though she is well into her childbearing years (despite the fact that she’s confident maturity-wise she’s only 18-21). Consider that you’ve not only inadvertently insulted her youthful appearance, but you’ve confirmed her pariah-status in this suburban cookie-cutter community and reignited her concerns that living in said suburbs without friends has aged her exceedingly. Consider that because of your innocent question, now she will spend Halloween binging on chocolate, lamenting the loss of her youth and questioning all of her life choices that led her to this sad, solitary, carving-pumpkins-without-children existence.

-50 points Grocery Store Man. And -10 points Halloween just because.

Yours,

Lady With Pumpkins But Disturbingly No Kids

Preparing for your Office Halloween Party in 16 Easy Steps

Note: This article only pertains to you if you are an Erin, not a Megan, and therefore enjoy Halloween, costumes, candy, drinking, winning costume competitions, winning in general and being better at everything than other people.

1. Remember that there are prizes and prestige to be won by participating in your Halloween party. And booze. And maybe flirting with the dude that’s been doing the construction around the office. Also remember to ask about the theme of your office Halloween party before you begin assembling the various elements of your extravagant costume, which costs money

2. You’ve just found out your party has a theme. What is it again? Brand icons? Hm. Strange perhaps, but you do work at an advertising agency. Brand identity is your bread and butter. Do not be stumped by the strangeness! Brainstorm time. The only brand icons you brainstorm, however, are black.

This…..cannot end well

3. Educate yourself. Google the shit out of every synonymic phrase for “corporate mascot” that you can. Your options are now characters on cereal boxes, animals or spokespeople for Geico. Be disappointed in the results.

4. Enlist your friends. They will all tell you to be Flo, of the Progressive commercials. Reject this idea. You know at least four people are going to show up with red lipstick and Bump-its at your party. Not creative enough!

5. Discover a recognizable, but obscure enough brand icon that only you will have thought of. She is human and can be constructed cheaply. Everyone will marvel at your ingenuity.

Behold!

7. Spend three days combing the town for a yellow, long-sleeved dress, shoes and perfect gold wig. This is harder than one would expect. Justify increasing your costume budget. Determine that the internet is better suited to your needs. Pay extra for the expedited shipping because your party is at the end of the week.

8. Strike up a conversation at work regarding the party. Learn in passing that someone else has also found your brilliant, obscure idea and will be coming to the party as the Morton Salt Girl.

9. Stifle rage.

10. To Google!

11. Find a less unique, more elaborate idea. Increase your budget. Pay for next day shipping. Reason, you can always return the last costume of course.

12. After this second costume is bought, remember that all purchases from Halloween costume stores are final after Oct. 20th. Fucking shit.

13. Stew. Stare at discarded, expensive costumes balled up on your closet floor.

14. The new costume arrives. Fret about how intense it is. Consider the ramifications of looking like an overeager weirdo among your office peers. These are, after all, the same people that don’t understand what you’re doing when you “raise the roof” in status meetings.

For truly it is an evil to be a douche, but it is still a greater evil to be full of douchiness and unwilling to recognize it…

15. Too late. Your party is on Friday. It’s all or nothing, and everyone knows that not wearing a costume to a Halloween party is the most intentional asshole move in the world. You have no choice. Suit up.

16. Drink throughout the party to assuage the weirdness. Oh wait, your costume covers your face? There’s no mouth hole for beers?

….shit.

Halloweenie 2: The Rebuttal

Two days ago, my colleague, whom I respect deeply, posted an incendiary article on this blog regarding the shortcomings of a certain beloved festival in 20 ludicrous points. We haven’t spoken since, so deeply was I effected by her cutting remarks and scrooge-ish attitude to a day that brings joy to so many, including myself. To make her see the error of her ways, I have no choice but to deconstruct her points, and smash them like pumpkins in the streets.

                                                                        Justice!

Believe me when I say that my passion for Halloween would allow me to write lengthy pamphlets addressing each of Megan’s 20 points. But I think really they boil down into four big issues:

  • Candy
  • Scare Culture
  • Costumes
  • The Nature of Fear & Pleasure

This shit is about to get academic.

Continue reading

I Didn’t Watch the Vice Presidential Debates

look at this fucking love connection

For the first time in my life, I’m actually really invested in an election. Don’t judge me please, I struggle against the boredom-induced coma politics puts me in every day. I attempt to be an educated, engaged American citizen, and for that I should get some credit. But I can’t help that political discussion does NOTHING for me but incite rage, quickly followed by drowsiness. Rather than throw my hat in the ring, roll up my sleeves and participate (Seriously, would you vote me into public office? Duh, no.), I would rather take the Bane approach and smash it all down. From the rubble, we will rise.

So my engagement in Romney/Obama battle is novel. And uncomfortable. What I’m experiencing is not excitement for the triumph of democracy, but shambling, ugly terror about the outcome. My dreams are haunted. I irrationally fear the ugliness of the near future. I’m looking into real estate in the mountains, where I will sustain myself on the fruits of the woods and shun mankind.

So why didn’t I watch the vice presidential debates last night?

Because Project Runway was on.

It was the finale, you guys. THE FINALE. Who would be the best designer of clothes?? What words of genius would Tim Gunn pour into my knowledge-thirsty ears?

all the votes for this man

So backup plan time: DVR the debates for later viewing, right?. Wrong! I  already dvr-ed six other completely necessary shows at the same time as the dumb debates! I can’t be expected to make King Solomon-esque choices between It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and 30 Rock. Don’t make me cut the baby that is my TV infatuation in half! (That’s how the story goes, right?)

The amount of fretting that went on for about 15 minutes before the debates just highlighted what I already knew: this wasn’t about the beauty of Thursday night comedies on network television, this was much more serious. I had contracted acute Election Exhaustion.

I’m so tired of being irritated, judging people on Facebook for their Mitt Romney “likes”, worrying about which man is going to tell me what I can and cannot do with my beautiful junk, and how I’m never going to be able to retire because of social security blahblahbalfhihihbiwjtnpoijethj. I care SO MUCH about the outcome of this goddamn election, but you guys, I don’t think I can handle three more weeks of this. Give me action! Give me a ballot! I may live in a red state, but by God, I’m ready to do this thing.

And I want to get a jump on the remote cabin market.

the stuff of misanthropic dreams

Great American BeerFuck

“So it’s a beer festival and there are rows and rows and miles and miles of tables flowing golden delicious beer. All the breweries just line up to supply you with all the sweet nectar you desire. We wandered down the first row and got a taste from every last table. And the people, they walk around with hats overflowing with snacks and the finest necklaces made of crunchy pretzel to keep from getting too drunk. And by the end of just the first row, we were so wonderfully inebriated we had to stop for the night and go get a coffee to sober up to get home!”

That’s what my friend Tim told me about the Great American Beer Festival that I had just missed when I arrived back in the States last year (slightly embellished).

Hundreds of breweries. Thousands of beers. Endless tastes. Food accessories. All right here in Denver! If only I didn’t have to wait 11.5 months…

Fast-forward 9 months, and Erin and I did exactly what you would expect us to do: Circled October 13th on our calendars and planned a beautiful beer-soaked rendezvous.

Erin bought her flight here in July and August 2nd we hunkered down at our computers to buy $65 tickets the day they went on sale. WOOOOOO! BEEEEEERFESSSST!!!!!!! PARTAAAYYYY!!!!!! YEEEEEEEEEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And then this happened:

10:07 am

Megan: so what is going on?! did you get tix? i’m seeing tweets about it selling out. wtf is going on dude

Erin: oh shit!

Megan: gahhhhhhhh the site is being so slow!!! maybe it’s the members only part that’s selling out. okay. okay. it’s okay.

Erin: aw shit, i can’t seem to get any tix for saturday

Megan: DUDE. dude dude dude.

Erin: is it sold out? i can’t get ANYTHING. let’s try friday.  i can change my flight

Megan: beer fest sells out in 25 minutes all weekend? yeah right. i am not buying any of this

Erin: bluuuuuuuuuuuurgh. booooooooooo

Megan: i am convinced this is a ticketmaster error or something, i feel like i would’ve heard a lot more about this festival if it was going to sell out in 20 minutes

Erin: i’m so sad right now

Erin: so stub hub has some for a billion dollars

Megan: $145?!?!

Erin: and upwards. who could have foreseen that these were going to sell out like that???

Megan: no one!!!!! last year it took 10 TEN days. fuck stab

Surprise. Confusion. Disbelief. Horror. Disappointment. Rage. Emotions ran the gamut that day. There was much speculation regarding exactly how and why the tickets sold out so fast. Personally, I blame the evil, wicked institution that is StubHub. Currently, there are over 200 tickets still on sale for three times their value. I won’t get into my conspiracy theory regarding modern ticketing practices and the role of StubHub in them because just thinking about it makes me want to throw an epic temper tantrum, complete with fist-shaking, foot-stomping and insufferable shrieking.

And now the Great American Beer Festival weekend is upon us. Erin is still coming to Denver. But instead of enjoying dozens of delicious, hoppy concoctions with like-minded beer friends, we will sit sadly alone at my house. Without rows of new brews. Without pretzel jewelry. Without hope.

Pity us.

Death Race

When I bought a car earlier this year, I was dubious. I had been without wheels for 3 years moving myself around via public transportation in Korea and Chicago. But I was in neither of those wonderlands any longer, and so I had to adapt to the way of the Midwesterner…the way of Sprawl.

I resisted. Oh did I resist. Insurance, gas, oil changes, general maintenance. What a time and money suck this beast was going to be, like a child with extra-curricular activities! Every time I contemplated this purchase, all I could think was….

Indeed, sir. But Sprawl is a motherfucker to walk around/bike through. Why the hell is everything so far apart? And why is it so cold/windy/sunny/humid? I’m a delicate flower that blossoms only in temperate weather. What I would have given for the compact, tenticlish streets of the Old World, or just one single bus that ran from tip to tail of this dumb town more than once every 2 hours.  And then I was hired, and the car became necessity. Enter:

An exact replica of my sweet ride.

That bitchin car. After the initial bank account shock, it dawned on me what I had forgotten in my years of vehicular abstinence: driving is fucking fantastic. Look at how fast I can go! Listen to my drum solo on the steering wheel! I can go anywhere at any time! It can be hot OR cold in here! Behold my absolute freedom! (Let’s save carbon footprints and natural resource dwindlings for another conversation.) I reverted with shocking speed to my 16 year old self, a newborn drunk on speed and recklessness – a sensation akin to riding a bike, drunk, down a mountainside (which I have also done). Look everybody, I can fly!

I love propulsion. I love momentum. I love combustion engines. I do not love obstacles. And every single person, animal, orange construction barrel in my path is an obstacle that must be routed. I can bring death upon you, unlucky obstruction. I’m fueled by unleaded gas and aggression.

I recognize that this is a dangerous attitude, and to be honest I don’t like being filled with murderous rage when people don’t use their blinkers. My heart is prone to flutters and stalls. But I have a commute, and a commute is actually a competition with everyone in the world to see who can make it home alive first. Everyone in Sprawl is playing, and their playing with the same insanely short-fuse that I’m playing with. The only rule: never let your guard down. There are no higher stakes than not dying in a fireball at 5pm on the interstate.

This all sounds super unsafe, I know. It probably is. But it’s the way of life here. And when your days  blur together, when your weeks become hazes of email chains, meetings, shitty sitcom episodes, election commercials, jogging on a treadmill…well you’ve got to get your thrills somewhere, right?