Forever Unclean

We found a dead cockroach on the living room floor last week.

Little did we know, that was the best possible scenario for meeting a cockroach, for if you meet a cockroach and it’s NOT dead, it’s scrambling over your dishes in the pantry as you shout every profanity you know with Megan screaming and hopping from foot to foot across the room while you fling all of the boxed appliances out of the cabinet onto the floor and you stare that twitchy motherfucker in the eyeballs and it unleashes its secret roach speed and sprints for the crack between the cabinet and the wall where you know all its family and friends are waiting, breeding, building whole roach civilizations in YOUR FUCKING WALLS that YOU’RE paying money for therefore only YOU have the right to live and have sex in them, and you know that if this roach escapes he and all his roach buddies will be back, they will have won, so you start bludgeoning the general area the cockroach is darting around in with the tool in your hand, a cup –

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This cup.

– until you manage to come down on its ass with such force that the blunt lip of the tumbler severs the bug’s disgusting head from its disgusting body with a mighty crunch and spray of bug juice and you fall back on your heels, panting, swearing that you will not rest until all cockroaches are still and dead and cold in the ground by your hand and Megan stares at you because she’s never seen your murder face until now.

Then, when you think peace reigns again in the kitchen, everything gets much, much worse. The cockroach head starts flinging itself around by the antennae and the roach’s brethren stir in the walls audibly for you’ve unwittingly given them half a dead cockroach body to consume (Cockroaches are willing cannibals, you see, and can also survive on an endless loop of eating their own shit. The life cycle and habits of the American Cockroach prove, irrevocably, that there is no god.). I ask you, which is more horrifying: the sight of a disembodied head rocking itself in a wide, panicky circle, or the scritch-scritch sound of an unknown number of enemy bugs in your walls?

Wordlessly, Megan and I agree that now we are at war.

Continue reading

The Enemy is Everywhere

Austin, TX. Monday 7:56 am:

“WHAT. IS. THAT.”

“What’s what?” Erin answered from her room.

“WHAT. THEFUCK. IS. THAT,” I repeated, my tone drawing her out of other room immediately.

A very large…something. On the floor. Unmoving. But with insect qualities. My brain wanted it to be a rabbit foot key chain.

Sometimes Erin wears barrettes and brooches like this.

Denial.

Is it…an orange and black feathery accessory that fell off of one of Erin’s purses?

Is it a moth? It MUST be a moth. Look, those..that..part appears to be…wings? And antennae. I walked to the other side of the couch, away from it while Erin performed her inspection from a safe distance.

“Uhhmm. I think it’s a roach?” Erin offered delicately.

I thought of my bed and its proximity to this creature. Cottage cheese and coffee threatened to come up on me. I have a hard enough time getting breakfast down as it is. I couldn’t get any nearer than three feet to help confirm. I couldn’t help confirm.

We put a tupperware over it and some weight on it and resolved to tell my pal Juan, the building guy, as soon as possible. “We will tell them. And they will SPRAY.”

I got in my car to head to work. My breakfast was still sitting high, ready to defy gravity with one mental misstep. I hoped his friends wouldn’t come to visit him while we’re gone. I considered the warnings that we’d received from our friends: bugs are a given here. I didn’t believe it, but here it was. Fruition. Then I wondered what other kinds of bugs we would encounter here in the wilds of Texas.

You see, Erin and I, we have a long and loathsome history with bugs. Continue reading

American Idle

So this whole “trying to get a job” thing has turned out way worse than I imagined in the months leading up to this move. I should’ve known better. Positivity and optimism really aren’t my bag. But I was hypnotized by the availability and variety of jobs (and tacos) this town promised.

I’m not sure what to attribute the difficulties to, as Erin found a job and is (happily? unhappily? It’s hard to tell) employed and has been for quite some time. So I can’t help but think, maybe it’s me? Then again, maybe it’s them. All of them. But maybe we all have our fate. Maybe the world is shit. Maybe everything happens for a reason. Maybe God is dead. Maybe the next interview will go really well Continue reading

FML DMV

I should know by now that I exist on a sine curve of karmic reactions. For every positive event, there is a corresponding low of equal magnitude. I moved to Texas with minimal hitches!! I landed a job!! Mad Men season 5 is on Netflix two weeks before the new season starts!!!! So many consequence-free happy goings-on….I have been feeling indestructible of late and for this, today, I have suffered. Foolhardy mortal am I to think that I could visit the DMV unscathed, unraped in my more tender orifices.

Behold this map showing the location of the nearest driver’s license office:

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Thanks, DMV.org, for shrouding your lies in a veil of gov’t legitimacy

If you’re thinking that looks suspiciously like a neighborhood, you’re correct. It is a neighborhood, and a cul-de-sac is no fit place for a government office. I was acting as navigator, Megan driving, and this fact dawned on us slowly. With each turn the houses became more hopeless, lawns strewn with more broken toys until at last the grass became so untended that we couldn’t even see front doors.”Peach Grove Road”, indeed. We pulled up to the address we’d been told by the internet was the correct and real location of a correct and real State of Texas DMV. Here’s what we saw:

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So about American infrastructure…

So. The unpleasantness had begun. A second consultation of the internet revealed that there was another DMV of a less dubious nature not too far away. Off we sped, still unaware that we had only just begun the downward trajectory of our karmic journey. We wove out of the depressing neighborhood into a depressing business district, barely escaping death from multiple blind people driving in whatever fucking lane they so chose and at whatever speed would result in the most fatalities. Apparently knowing HOW to drive is not a requirement in Texas. so I supposed we wouldn’t have to take any tests when we arrived at the DMV. Silver lining.

At last we spotted our destination strip mall. Could it be? Could the parking lot really be so empty at 1 pm on a Friday? At last, a turn of luck! The lines were going to be short, we’d be back to our lives in less than an hour! Megan and I trotted to the front door, laughing breathlessly about how silly the adventure had been so far. My hand was on the door when-

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Good Friday: a state holiday in 12 of the 50 states, who knew?

So this afternoon, while we’re all off work not getting our driver’s licenses renewed, let us observe not only Jesus Christ’s death and crucifixion, but also the Passion of Erin, who’s physical, mental and spiritual anguish this day hit an abysmal low.

Blow Jobs

Did I enter into this situation voluntarily? Yes. Did I assume the first few weeks would be depressing and frustrating? Yes. But did I also tell myself that of all the job markets to willfully enter Austin is about as promising as any? And that the pain of job searching and temporary poverty is far outweighed by the promise of better jobs, not to mention a more robust life seasoned with peer socializing and a spicy blend of food and music and entertainment? Yes and yes.

<Begin Job Search>

I can think of few scenarios as soulrapingly horrible in which to knowingly place yourself as ‘requiring employment’. It’s starts off innocently enough with a standard list of complaints that anyone might have under the pressure of a dwindling bank account and few prospects.

“Oh damn,

1.) …this is a disappointing selection of opportunities available here on (Craigslist, Monster, Indeed, Bright, Careerbuilder, SimplyHired, LinkedIn, USAJobs, AdministrativeJobs, TexasEmployment, etc). Bummer.”

2.) …this job here that I’m really interested in only pays a little more than the carwash down the street. Balls.”

3.) …this job requires me to write a painstakingly detailed and specific cover letter selling myself like a two dollar whore. Blurgh.”

Fair enough. These issues are to be expected. If getting hired were easy, everyone-

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Yeah.

<Begin Downward Spiral into Job Search Hell>

However, after the first hour or two of active employment seeking, an assault of inconvenient and/or mockingly stupid obstacles begins and it makes you doubt that a.) this kind of hoop-jumping nonsense is ultimately worth your time for said job and b.) you are even interested in an employer with such a deplorably asinine application process.

Examples of this kind of dickitude include but are not limited to:

Second Person Job Descriptions“You are detailed-oriented and a real go-getter! You love to be ORGANIZED and can’t sleep at night if your memos aren’t perfect! Now PROVE IT!”

“You are an ass-kissing cheerleader! You’re desperate enough for a job that you would just about anything wouldn’t you? Now down on your knees and prove it!”

Parsing ResumesWhat do you mean your previous job title isn’t “August 2010”?

Please upload your resume here so we can fill in the boxes all wrong and you have to go back and fix everything anyway. For the nineteenth time. This hour.

InternshipsHere, click on this awesome and exciting new job! (Just kidding, I mean, um, unpaid internship. We don’t have any money for you. Can’t believe you were dumb enough to click on that!)

Get your shit together people. If I wanted a job that doesn’t pay, I would have a blog.

And my favorite, Salary BracketsPlease enter your minimum and maximum salary requirements.

Yes, because I just feel really uncomfortable making more than $70,000 a year. In fact, if that’s what this position pays, I’m going to need to decline right now. Too much. I thrive only on Ramen and off brand toilet paper. Thanks though.

no

<Continue Downward Spiral into Total Self Reproach and Misery (It’s Getting Darker)>

I assume that for people with a definitive degree and desirable “skill” (ie software development, accounting, nursing, you get the idea), this process isn’t so brutal. You have a career goal in mind, you can tailor your application and communications to that career goal and the rest of these ‘bumps’ are just there to get your heart rate up.

But for someone like me with what has proven a fairly useless liberal arts degree and whose primary experience lies in clerical work and customer service and delicately attending to the egos of the assholes whom I ‘administratively assist’ (a very fucking under appreciated talent if I do say so), this routine gets really demeaning.

“Tell us why you want this job and why you love administrative work.”

Because I need to pay my rent and because fuck you.

“List all job related training or skills you possess and machines or office equipment you can use, such as: calculators, printers, computer equipment, types of software”

SInce you are unemployed and have loads of time, let’s play a game that will totally waste minutes of your life you’ll never get back and that will make you feel like a lousy piece of shit. Close your eyes and pretend you’re in an office. Now, list all the things you see there that plug in or require batteries. Bonus points if you can name more advanced equipment like paper shredders and cd-roms. Double bonus points for jump drives.

Office Administrator: Duties include supporting c-level executives, managing all incoming calls and documents, greeting guests, assisting with client relations, and general housekeeping.

And general housekeeping. Meaning, it is your job to clean up after the lazy jerks who are far too good to do their own dishes because, well, you fall underneath them in the career hierarchy dontcha know? Also, since we put it in the ad you can’t get mad when we treat you like a servant k? K.

Or worse even, “If a job with low pay, limited hours, a sometimes high amount of stress, and no benefits interests you, please reply to this posting with your resume and a cover letter that tells a bit about yourself and why you want this position”

These are positively heinous hurdles you might encounter when searching for a job. The mental energy required to battle these constant insults to my intelligence has drained me of any capacity to truly enjoy Austin (and living in general) right now. And it is having the perverse effect of making me expect a far better job than I’m probably even qualified for, because surviving this with your psyche intact is a fucking profound and unsung accomplishment.

everything

<Job Seeker: Meet Rock Bottom>

I’m not even sure I will survive with my psyche intact. I’ve found myself clicking on the less savory categories of Craigslist, wondering what “other ways” there might be to make some money.

Single Executive needs help (Austin/Round Rock)

Single male executive needs open minded female help with errands, odd jobs.Please email me and let me know a little about yourself and how much you charge. I also would like to see a photo of you. If you’re open minded and can give a massage even better! Perfect for college student I pay well.

Looking To Hire New Escorts Start Today… (Austin)

We are a busy agency looking to hire a few new Thin escorts white & hispanic,ladies must be 18+, have a drive to make money, sexy an attractive. We are currently hiring for the day shift, drivers are provided.If interested please send 2 pic’s ( face shot included),along with name, availability, contact info, start Toady.

Well guess what? I’m available.

i'm available pope

Oh Lately It’s So Quiet

Have you noticed that? The post-New Year’s drought of words of wisdom from this quarter? It’s not that I’m not diligently typing away in the back rooms of this blog, it’s just that I’ve only been able to produce vitriolic attacks on everything from cotton candy unicorns to fiscal cliffs because, honestly, I’ve been extremely angry at everything for the last two weeks. So much uncontrollable rage, but why?

Oh my god it's so gross I WANT IT INSIDE OF ME

SO GROSS BUT I WANT IT INSIDE OF ME

I’m simply hungry. Really hungry, all the time. Wake up hungry, go to bed hungry, with very little respite from hunger in between. Hungry in the bread basket of America, where I’m constantly reminded of how available Jalapeno Turkey Burgers are at Carl’s Jr., or that there are donuts in the break room every goddamn day. (Shut UP, Steve, I know there are donuts here! I sense maple glaze like it’s a disturbance in the force!) This is the kind of hunger that makes me believe I know EXACTLY what it must have been like in a Soviet prison camp.

No disrespect, but I FEEL like I feel you, bros.

YES, we’ve established I’m an asshole, YES this is all my own fault so I can’t complain or tell Steve to stop telling me about the donuts during these hunger games. Readers: I knowingly and willingly committed to a 30 day cleanse. Forgive me my sins.

Sure, I COULD claim I’m doing this for the hippie-dippy benefits: Health! Oozing out toxins! If you could only flip me inside out and see how clean my internal organs are! Lies, mostly. Anyone who has ever hung out with me over a weekend knows I have only contempt for my organs and treat them like garbage. When one removes eating form their daily routine, one finds a lot of time on their hands to think about their motivations. And here’s the terrible truth: I’ve got a black, gooey, throbbing tumor of female body issues and I HATE IT. But I’m getting skinny as hell and I fucking LOVE THAT.

Whatever holes in me were previously occupied by toxins are now filled with shame. How could this have happened? How could I have worked so hard and projected such a badass exterior of not giving a shit about girly crap like ass size and STILL fall victim to just wanting to be thin?! How?! Why?! Because of course it’s only a projection and patriarchy is internalized etc etc unrealistic standards of female beauty blah blah blah. So here I am thinner, yet feeling ever so hypocritical (and yearning so strongly for a donut it’s creepy). Food lust aside, is there anything worse than having to face your own abject normalness? Me and the rest of the world, we all have the same broken parts. .

But will staring at this conundrum stop me from finishing the next two weeks of this cleanse?

Probably not.

Because, you know, all the health benefits.

Merry Music of the Damned

Monday, 12/17/12 9:14am

Megan:  there is some kenny g christmas on my radio that i definitely think you would enjoy

Erin:  oh man, if there’s one thing a monday morning needs it’s Kenny G’s ballshrinking shrill ass saxophone

Megan:  come on, it’s soothing and peaceful

Erin:  it’s the music they play in the lobby of hell, gah. just thinking about it is enraging me

Megan: there is no video of Kenny G live playin his christmas songs!

Erin: because he’s not a real person. just an idea of horrible music.a phantom, summoned by the sound of a soprano. i hear that if you stand in front of a mirror in the dark and say his name three times. he appears and murders your ears

Megan:  but it’s festive! okay, you have to sit in a room alone for 24 hours with the same music on loop. kenny g? or the wham christmas song? (YOU MUST WATCH THIS VIDEO BTWS)

Erin:  good god. what kind of twisted imagination asks that question??! i want to punch this video. ski chalet from hell. look at these yuppies and their huge coats

Megan:  you must answer!

Erin:  you’re sick dwyer

wham

Megan:  okay

Erin:  ugh. what would you pick?

Megan:  kenny g vs. that paul mccarney christmas song?

(wham)

Megan:  look this video comes with a christmas movie montage!

Erin:  duuuuuude

Erin:  remember that knife dildo from the movie SE7EN? that in my ear is what that paul mccartney song is

Megan:  soo..kenny g and his sexy curls beats sir paul this time??

Erin:  no i don’t think so. i would take knifey rape ear music over kenny g. they haven’t invented an instrument that represents kenny g’s tunes yet. there is no equivalent

Megan:  okay. so wham v. simply having a wonderFUL CHRISTMAS TIIIIME?

Erin:  why are you do this to meeeeeeeeeeee

Erin:  they’re all in my head now. um let’s see….damn, probably mccartney. because i’ve got childhood holiday memories of that song. whereas wham is a relatively new song (to me)

Erin:  christ i hate all those songs

Megan:

https://i2.wp.com/25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_me85vxN1681qdfyf3o2_1280.jpg

Erin:  i love ron swanson and his alter ego. but nothing, ever, could convince me to get on a sax train

Megan:  aw. you would suicide off a sax train.

Erin:  i would

PS. To redeem ourselves, check out this cover of “Last Christmas” by XX. It’s pretty great. http://www.uproxx.com/music/2012/12/hear-the-xxs-cover-of-a-rare-good-holiday-song-whams-last-christmas/

PPS. To further redeem ourselves: humor.