I see life through rose.., p.3

I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses, page 3

 

I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses
 


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  I outlined the plots of three novels.

  In my head.

  Now all I have to do is fill in the blanks.

  It’s like Mad Libs for the addicted authors.

  I admit, I may have been a little edgy, but even that worked for me, like when I lined up the dogs for a Christmas photo and they sat on cue, obeying me for the first time ever.

  Nobody wanted to make Holiday Hulk angry.

  So bottom line, here we are at the new year, and as you may remember, I don’t make resolutions because they’re always so negative, as in here’s something I hate about myself that I need to change.

  I prefer to keep it positive, so I invented unResolutions, in that here’s something I like about myself and I resolve to keep doing.

  And you know what that is?

  Steroids, every December from now on.

  Happy New Year!

  Lost and Found

  Lisa

  Did you hear the news?

  They discovered a new organ.

  All this time, it was in your body.

  Not even kidding.

  Maybe they were looking outside?

  Anyway, an Irish surgeon, Dr. J. Calvin Coffey, discovered that we have something in our stomach called a mesentery.

  Before now, the mesentery was a mystery.

  Dr. Coffey teaches at the University of Limerick, otherwise well known for its limericks.

  Like, “There once was a mesentery from Nantucket…”

  Evidently, the mesentery connects the intestine to the abdomen, and as Dr. Coffey explained, “It keeps the intestine in a particular shape, so when you stand up, your intestine doesn’t fall into your pelvis.”

  Well, hell. That’s a good thing.

  It’s like Spanks for your colorectal system.

  Thanks, mesentery!

  Meanwhile, I might be in love with Dr. Coffey. He has a way with words. And also if he could find a mesentery, he could find my car keys.

  But to stay on point, it turns out that for the past century, medical science had thought the mesentery was a group of disjointed parts, but he figured out it’s a connected organ.

  Hello!

  So now you have an organ you didn’t know about.

  Like a present you got for the holidays.

  And it’s just your size!

  People don’t understand why medical science didn’t know about the mesentery before.

  Not me. I get it. If I were going to lose something in my body, the most likely place to lose it would be in my stomach.

  In the folds.

  Above the Bermuda Triangle.

  You know what I mean.

  All ladies have one, and that’s what I call mine. Because any man who goes there is lost forever.

  Anyway, if you have stomach folds, you know that they’re the reason God made loose sweaters.

  That’s what I wear to hide my folds, or I avoid sitting altogether.

  This is my new thing since my last speaking event, when I sat down and my waistband button popped off, then the zipper went down. I couldn’t keep it up. It looked good at the lectern, if you like asymmetrical pants.

  Luckily I had on a jacket, which is a folds-hider for special occasions.

  And I have other tips for hiding folds.

  For example, if you ever see me on the beach, I am lying down. That’s the only way my stomach looks flat. Unfortunately, that’s when my breasts also look flat, but at least it’s a matching set.

  Anyway, the thing about folds is that they hide things in addition to mesenteries.

  Okay, let’s get real.

  I happened to look down after a shower the other day, in a rare moment.

  It’s winter, so the shower is rare.

  Also the looking down.

  I mean, why? I usually can’t see anything over my belly anyway, so who needs that reminder?

  Not me.

  So when I looked down, my folds smoothed out, and you know what I saw sticking out of my belly button?

  Dog hair.

  I recognized it because there’s dog hair all over my house, and since I have dogs that have yellow, brown, black, and white hair, in every corner is a multicolored canine tumbleweed.

  But in my belly button?

  Who knew?

  Yet, there was, sprouting like a little furry fountain.

  I started pulling it out, and the more stuff I pulled out, the more stuff there was, like a magician starts pulling scarves out of a hat.

  Not only dog hair, but lint and little shreds of tissue paper.

  Who knew what was in there?

  Could the Bermuda Triangle be spreading?

  Are you horrified yet?

  I was. I even got out a tweezers to do the job right, extracting every last foreign object like a surgeon.

  In fact, like a surgeon finding a mesentery.

  Dr. Coffey, call me.

  We have so much in common.

  Happy Birthday to Me?

  Francesca

  Planning your own birthday is a fact of adult life.

  Sure, there are years where a best friend or significant other steps up, but in my history, some years I planned it myself.

  Okay, every year I’ve planned it myself.

  And every year it makes me completely insane.

  I’m well adjusted eleven months out of the year, but when planning my birthday, I become my most neurotic self.

  It’s agony.

  I wish I could be one of those people who is like, “It’s mah birthday, bitches!” but I go the opposite direction. I’m filled with anxiety and insecurity over every aspect of it, obsessively concerned that my guests won’t have a good time.

  It’s like I forget they’re my friends.

  My fantasy is that someone would throw a surprise birthday party for me, but I don’t know how anyone would pull it off in real life, because I’m such a nervous planner, I’d beat them to the punch. They’d have to throw it for me two months in advance to save me from the stress spiral that sucks me in each year.

  It begins with the venue. I know I should just relax, choose a bar I like, and ask everyone to show up.

  But this is a busy city, places get packed, especially on the weekends. I would never want my friends to go out of their way to come to a place of my choosing, only to find there was no room at the bar for them.

  So I have to choose a place that will let me reserve space. But what if the space is too large, and I don’t have enough friends to fill it? And then the few people who do come will see that I’m actually a loser and rethink our entire relationship.

  I evaluate the venue from every angle. Is it cool enough but not trying too hard? Will the menu please everyone from the beer drinker to the cocktail aficionado? Are the drinks overpriced, will it seem too bougie? Is it easy to get to from the subways? If we wanted to go dancing later, are we near a good place for that? Do people other than me even like dancing? Is a second location too much to ask, I mean, how many hours do I expect my friends to devote to celebrating my birth?

  Yelp is my spiral-enabler. The Internet provides us too much information for our own good. I lose hours scouring reviews containing the words “birthday party” for every potential bar or lounge, and one bad experience crosses it off the list.

  I’m like a codependent Goldilocks. “Is this bed okay for you? Do you have a preferred sleep number? Just let me know, I can change it!”

  Inevitably, I take so long finding the place that is just right, when I call it’s already booked.

  Luckily I have four more on standby.

  Then there are the invitations. You would think as a writer, this would be the most comfortable part for me. Think again.

  I spend my professional life thinking about my “voice” in writing, and I can’t turn that off for crafting the invite. I go through drafts before I send anything out.

  I thought Paperless Post was the answer to my prayers, because it gave me less room to write. But there are pages upon pag
es of options. At first it starts out fun to browse the pretty designs, but soon it devolves into an identity crisis of the Millennial era:

  What flavor of hipster whimsy am I?

  Am I an ironic rainbows and unicorns person? Vintage wallpaper florals? Childhood photo of myself looking weirdly precocious?

  My options for that last one are limited, as my mom used to cut my bangs.

  When in doubt, I generally settle for something with booze on the cover.

  (See this book jacket.)

  I save the hardest part of the birthday planning for last: the cake.

  First, a tough question: am I too old to want a birthday cake?

  I mean, I do want cake, pretty much all the time. A birthday is a rare occasion when adults get to eat cake without shame. And that provides me the loophole to ordering one—I tell myself I’m doing it for my guests and not my insatiable appetite for refined sugar.

  But something about ordering my own birthday cake feels pathetic, like sending yourself flowers.

  Between dignity and cake, I choose cake.

  So I call up the fabulous bakery near me to place an order. Early on, it’s still plausible that I’m ordering this for someone else’s birthday—based on my choices, pink frosting and red writing, perhaps a small child’s. The moment of truth comes when they ask me: “What do you want it to say on it?”

  Is “I am alone” too dark?

  In the past, I’ve gritted my teeth and asked for Happy Birthday, Francesca, hoping they didn’t match the name to my credit card.

  This year it finally occurred to me that it didn’t need to say anything—although I forget that my friends actually like me, I remember they know my name—so I opted for a round cake with icing ripples on top.

  “Do you want disco dust on it?” the baker asked.

  “Excuse me?”

  “It’s really fine, edible sparkles on the top.”

  “This is for my thirty-first birthday,” I confess, expecting a gasp of horror on the line, but he says nothing. So I venture, “Does it look good?”

  “It looks awesome.”

  “I’m not too old for it?”

  “No, girl! I would get this on my birthday cake, too!”

  For the first time in the planning process, I was having fun. “Okay, yes! And while you’re at it, make the inside funfetti cake.”

  “YAS!”

  When the planning is done and my party rolls around, I always have a good time. Each year I’m reminded that my friends are easygoing and wonderful, and I kick myself for fretting so much. I am genuinely lucky to plan any occasion that gets all of these fantastic people in a room together. If that takes some extra stress, it’s well worth it.

  And when I finally mellow out enough to give my friends a chance to help me, they don’t let me down. This year, without my asking, my friend took charge of the candle lighting and got everyone singing. When they brought it over for me to blow the candles out, a huge smile spread across my face.

  The disco dust was totally worth it.

  To Boldly Go

  Lisa

  You’ve probably heard that we discovered seven new planets that might have water.

  Good, because I’m thirsty.

  You probably are, too.

  Everybody’s thirsty all the time, that’s why we’re always carrying bottles of water around that we have to throw somewhere.

  But no worries.

  Soon we’ll have new planets to throw our water bottles around on.

  This is great because it’s getting cluttered down here, with the trash and all. There are landfills of trash, Dumpsters of trash, and lakes of trash. There’s even a floating island of trash that’s sailing around the ocean, like a cruise with really bad food.

  It takes a long time to throw enough crap around to mess up an entire planet, but I think we’re finally getting there.

  And now that we’re just running out of planet to throw things around on, just in time, we discover there are seven new planets to throw things around on.

  Some species have all the luck.

  The new planets have their own system, called TRAPPIST-1, which sounds like a vanity plate to me. Considering what we’re going to do to them, maybe we should change the name to TRASH-IT.

  And if you ask me, time’s a wastin’.

  Those planets aren’t going to trash themselves.

  They need experts to do it for them, and we’re already behind the eight ball.

  Luckily, I think we have the learning curve down. I don’t expect it will take us as long to trash those planets as it did this one, plus there are more people making more trash every day, so hopefully if we all pitch in, we can get this job done in no time.

  We are the world.

  And we trash it together.

  I have the same exact problem with my kitchen drawers.

  They keep getting filled up but it’s a pain in the neck to clean them out. I would love it if I had a whole new set of drawers to junk up.

  Sometimes you just have to start over.

  It’s like divorce for your planet.

  The way I see it, I have two ex-husbands but only one ex-planet. So I’m behind the count.

  Or ahead?

  That goes for digging, too.

  We’ve done a lot of digging and we’re running out of places to dig. In fact about five years ago, we dug in the bottom of the ocean and we made a hole in the planet and the stuffing came out.

  Oops.

  You remember when that happened. We had to plug the hole, but nobody’s fingers were big enough, so we were in real trouble.

  To me, the solution was simple.

  Eat more.

  Then your fingers will get chubbier and pretty soon you’ll be able to plug any hole you want to.

  I figured that out all by myself.

  You didn’t know I was that smart, did you?

  Anyway I’m excited about our new planets, which already have their own website. You can’t blame them. If those planets want us to fly up there and start trashing, they have to promote themselves.

  The competition will be fierce.

  But I think we’re up to the challenge.

  After all, we put the first man on the moon.

  Isn’t it about time we put the first Dumpster everywhere else?

  Not only that, but I bet there are a lot of cool new animals we’ve never seen before up there.

  We definitely need new animals, since we’re almost out of them down here. More and more animals are disappearing every day. All creatures great and small, until they’re so small, they’re gone.

  Well, that’s not exactly true. To clarify, we have too many dogs and cats, but we don’t have enough giraffes or lions.

  This is because their heads keep ending up on people’s walls.

  If only they could keep their heads, then they would live.

  You need a head to live.

  Again, I’m a genius.

  Ask me anything.

  That’s why I’m hopeful that if we get to these new planets, those animals will have heads and they’ll be around longer.

  Also you need a head to breathe.

  Oxygen.

  There are places that are running out of oxygen on this planet, so we need to go where the oxygen is, on our new planets.

  We’ll have to fly there.

  Unfortunately, it’s far away. According to the website, it will take thirty-nine light-years to get there. So we’ll need a lot of snacks.

  And a lot of gas.

  Which might make some smoke.

  But the smoke will clear up in time, like maybe 5 million years, and by then we will have discovered another seven new planets.

  It will all work out in the end, don’t you think?

  It always has.

  It always will.

  In another world.

  Oh Captain, My Captain

  Lisa

  I’m back from yet another adventure in flying.

  And I’m
happy to report that everyone survived, including me.

  We begin when I find myself on one of those commuter flights, which I hate because I’m afraid to fly.

  And there’s nothing like a small plane to remind you of your own mortality.

  Because there’s nothing underneath the plane except the earth.

  At something of a distance.

  Usually I confide in the flight attendant that I’m afraid to fly, and they always tell me that air travel is safer than being on a road, that some turbulence is normal, and that the captain has everything under control.

  Generally I take comfort in that response, until this particular flight, when the captain seemed less than reliable.

  Let me explain.

  Because I’m so paranoid about flying, I begin checking everything, even in the jetway. I always make sure that the jetway meets the plane exactly, so that there’s no gap. I do this because I read that once there was a gap and somebody fell through it onto the tarmac and died.

  So I’m all over the jetway-gap issue.

  By the way, I never worry about terrorists. I leave that to government agencies. I can’t do everything and I’ve got my eye on that jetway gap.

  Then I go on board the plane and before I sit down, I check the cockpit. I make sure that the pilots don’t look too old, too young, or too drunk.

  Because I read an article about drunk airline pilots, so I conduct field sobriety tests.

  To wit, I always make a point of saying hello to the pilots, so they’ll have to say hello back.

  I want to smell their breath.

  If it smells like onions, terrific.

  If it smells like vodka, less so.

  And if they don’t say hello back, I ask them a question, like:

  “How are you?”

  “Do you expect any turbulence?”

  “Are you single?”

  Just kidding.

  I never ask that.

  I only think it.

  Laugh all you want to, but if you’re on one of my flights, you have me to thank for getting home safely.

  Anyway, on the flight in question, I saw the pilot and asked him, “How are you?”

  He answered: “Tired and cranky.”

  His breath was fine.

  His answer wasn’t.

  I forced a smile, though I was really thinking, How tired?

  And how cranky?

  And believe it or not, I wasn’t the only one thinking these things, because the next thing that happened is that somebody on board had a medical issue, which provoked discussion between the pilots and the flight attendants on how to solve the problem, and all the passengers eavesdropped and heard the tired-and-cranky pilot bossing around the other pilot and the flight attendants.

 
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