I’d be remiss…

…if I didn’t take just a few moments today to take some time and say that I’m so deeply saddened by what happened at the Boston Marathon this afternoon.

I’m preparing for bed, but finding myself equal parts angry and sad that so much hate continues to exist in a world where we are educated and exposed to enough to know better.

I’m not quite sure where to go with these emotions, so, I brought them here, to a blog where I try to approach things with a touch of humor, but today is no day for that.

Today is a day that no matter how broken we feel in light of the event that took place; we should remember that, like Mr. Rogers said, there are always helpers in dark times.

And those helpers, well, they are the people who I am eternally grateful for.

Mr. Rogers was one smart man. 

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Why I Suck at Redbox

Back in the day (which was obviously in my post-collegiate early 20’s) I did a 2.5 year stint working for a now-extinct movie rental chain. At around the same time I rose to the prestigious position of Store Manager, Redboxes started cropping up on the home front, and I had to scout out their locations for my ever-important and balding District Manager. 
 
Redbox was the enemy. That smooth, red, metal box, well-endowed with a touch-screen was a temptress who was single-handedly killing the DVD rental industry, almost faster than anyone could say “Uncle Buck.”
 
I avoided Redbox like it was the plague, for a long time. I just didn’t know any other way. It was killing my job before I could escape the industry with dignity. Redbox was scary.
 
I’ve come a long way since then. About 4-5 years and a few free months with Netflix later, Redbox is finally a viable, friendly rental option for me. Sort of.
 
Currently, I have a love/hate relationship with Redbox. We’re friendly enough with each other that Redbox will text coupon codes right to my phone. Free rentals! Fantastic. 
 
Recently, a long-awaited new release became available on Redbox, and I was all too stoked to rent the DVD. Delirious with fever, I ordered some soup from my favorite Italian restaurant, and walked my sick ass over to the adjacent 7-11 to hit up Redbox. 
 
I returned home, sick, and generally lazy; it was practically a wasted Saturday night wherein I had the house to myself but was too ill to seize the moment and entertain a few select friends. I eagerly returned home with my soup and my movie. With my free rental, and my soup, I spent less than $6 for one glorious night of movie watching in the comfort of my own home, wrapped in a penguin-print snuggie, eating soup right out of the plastic container with the plastic spoon. 
 
The rules of Redbox dictate “thou shalt return thine movie before 9PM the next day.” 
 
Except, if your reading comprehension skills have not failed you, you may notice that I described myself as “generally lazy” on this particular evening. Even as my fever broke the next day, I just could not get myself back to the RedBox.  My free rental was suddenly $1.30 rental. And the following day, a $2.60 rental, before I managed to return it. I’m almost ashamed to admit I’ve done much worse rental damage. I should mention this particular RedBox is less than 2 miles from my front door.
 
I’m actively contributing to Redbox’ great success. $2.60 for a “free” rental.
 
Sneaky, sneaky, RedBox. I see what you’ve done here.
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A Marriage of Inconvenience (Resurrected from June 2005)

After graduating college into a world of unknowns, I began some soul searching. A week later, I did what any self-respecting individual with a bachelor’s degree, debt, and a dream might do: I joined the gym. 
 
There is a certain intimidation factor that plays into joining a gym. The first day, I had visions of muscle – bound, shiny looking men in spandex and tiny women with perky breasts and bleach blond hair dancing in my head. We’re talking Mattel’s BARBIE line, personified, minus all of the pink. I was horrified to even pass through the threshold of the gym, for fear that the workout world would STOP and observe my lack of fitness in shock and dismay. Oh, the anticipation. 
 
Upon entering, I was referred to a manager. Said manager is approximately 300 pounds of overgrown fraternity boy. I am still having trouble wrapping my head around that one. What this man has demonstrated is quite peculiar…think of it this way: it’s like working in a supermarket and going hungry because you forgot to pack your lunch. Your wallet’s there, but you’re just NOT buying. 
 
More entertainment: on the visit after my first [henceforth known as the second visit] I faced a rather interesting horror. Not ONLY was my usual cardio machine taken, but I had the pleasure of doing 15 minutes of cardio behind a woman in her mid-fifties. Innocent enough, right? Nope. 
 
She wasn’t wearing any underwear. 
 
I know this because I could clearly see her crack through her too-tight pants, which were made of a magical material that becomes transparent when worn. Not for nothing, but I don’t like to see the moon before dark. And I PARTICULARY don’t like to see a moon that does not dwell in the sky. It was like I was running the eternal race to nowhere, only the proverbial carrot was a much less asthetically pleasing bait. Yes, it was rather like running towards a bucket of vomit. As a patron, I propose that the gym amend it’s policy to include mandatory wearing of panties. Panty checks at the door. Or, just wear sweatpants. 
 
Possibly my favorite thing about the gym is the parking. When I went for my trial workout, the gym gods bestowed upon me a pretty sweet parking spot. Of course they would, being that the gods can sense when a wallet enters its sweat-ridden interior. Since then, this is not so. I listened to an entire song as I quested for a parking spot, circling the same area of the front lot, hoping to not have to park ALL OF THE WAY in the back. 
 
Now, I am navigating my 93 Ford Monstrosity around a barely there parking lot, desperately trying to turn my corners in such a way that will not disturb any of the cars to my front, rear,left, OR right. As my song came to a close, I resigned and headed to the back lot for parking. The walk to the back doors of the gym seemed to last forever, and the other questors who had circled in the front walked with as disgruntled an expression as mine. 
 
This is the gym, friends. We were all going to work out. What’s the big deal? Can’t we park just a little bit farther??? Popular opinion: The gym should be a marriage of convenience. In fact, I’ve got a novel idea – put the parking IN the gym. I mean, the place is so damned crowded with scantily clad middle-aged women, would anyone really be able to tell the difference? At least the cars would be a pleasant distraction from the guy running next to me, who eerily keeps checking my speed. We’re not racing, buddy. And, in fact, after seeing you about-face and walk backwards …. I’m not impressed, or up to the challenge. 

Why Being Underemployed Doesn’t Suck (Even Though it Does)

Part of my third-life “crisis,” as I’ve lovingly (pathetically?) come to describe it, is the plight of being underemployed. I am positive I didn’t invent this term, but had the delightfully degrading experience of explaining what it is to be “underemployed” to a now-retired uncle.

I think being underemployed is a bit of a generational thing. (MTV even has a show about it, so it must be real). Many people I know that fall between 22 and 30 are busy chasing their dreams, yet settling financially. You went to college to be a nurse, but you’re working as a waitress. You have a Master’s in business, and you’re using your education to serve beers. You’re the best damn daschund trainer the East Coast has ever seen, but you’re on the register at Target. Accepting a subpar, low-paying job may seem hard to swallow. But a job is better than no job, because responsibilities and fun don’t pay for themselves.

Make no mistake, I love my current job. After spending too many years in and out of the career purgatory known as “retail,” I savor my low-paying, stepping-stone-to-my-career job. What I don’t love is not having health insurance, and paying my student loan companies in blood and limbs. (I really miss my right arm; it made typing so much easier).

Allow me to clear up any misconceptions about the underemployed. We are not all lazy. Many of us give up our precious weekends to work multiple jobs and make ends meet. We don’t want to spend our adulthood sleeping in our childhood bedrooms in our parents’ homes. We’re trying, seeking, and applying for jobs constantly; attempting to woo an economy that’s still wearing its robe and eating Ben & Jerry’s by the pint full on the couch.

It’s not my turn yet. But one day, when that economy picks itself up by the bootstraps and gets out there again, I’ll be wining and dining it.

Being underemployed doesn’t suck, because I’m employed and my job is fulfilling. But when my income reaches career level, I’m moving out of my dad’s place faster than you can say “Vintage Ninja Turtle Bedsheets.”

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Why I Don’t Date

Whiskey

Somehow, it happened. I hemmed, hawed, worried and fretted. Regardless of how I felt about it leading up to the event, I turned 30 in a haze of alcohol, friends, and loud music, eventually ending up completely submerged in a hot tub while fully clothed. I anticipated horrible fallout to turning 30, and so far, I’m surviving thriving.

I naively never thought I would find myself both 30 and single. When you’re not looking, you get busy with life and suddenly find that everyone else seems to have gotten busy with a different, more-adult life than yours. I’m still living out the better part of my weekends sleeping off the inevitable hangover. Immature? Most likely. Enjoying it? More than I care to admit. But, I digress.

This makes me someone who is still “dating” at 30. I say “dating,” because I am not, in fact, dating. Sure, I’d love to get hitched one day. I’d love to have a family and home. I’d relish in experiencing the kind of love makes you want to share a bed and a bathroom with a male adult human forever. I imagine it’d be pretty fantastic; at least, the love part, because no matter how you spin it, the bathroom sharing sounds like it sucks. (Note to self: buy said home with multiple bathrooms).

Rainbows, butterflies, and lovey-dovey stuff aside: I’m intentionally not dating. I’m not dating partly because I’m happy, independent, and fully functional as a single person, and partly because I’ve carefully considered and weighed my dating “options,” while recovering from the aforementioned whiskey hangovers.

  • Option 1: Speed dating. I’ve all but ruled this out a number of times. The idea of speed dating produces mental images of The 40 Year-Old Virgin. In my head, the awkwardness and potential for nip-slip level embarrassment with sub-par nervous strangers is crippling. Plus, that shit’s expensive. I prefer to subject myself to impending humiliation free of charge, wherever possible.
  • Option 2: Online dating. Online dating is a huge “thing.” There are websites for specific shared interests, creeds, and even for people seeking extramarital affairs. I believe in the world of online dating, everyone gets one good match experience, and I had mine. And thanks to a widely-known documentary phenomenon, I’m 96% sure that every remaining man online is either a) going to “catfish” me, or b) inherently interested in cutting me up into tiny, easy-to-conceal-and-dispose pieces. Every.single.one.
  • Option 3: The setup/blind date. A friend wants to set you up with their friend/brother/cousin/colleague/barista. This is a high-pressure situation. While we’re on this delicate subject, what does it say about you when one of your dearest friends wants to set you up with a man who is legally blind? Don’t answer that.
  • Option 4: Ye Olde Fashioned option: Meet someone naturally. People have done it for hundreds upon hundreds of years. Romantic die-hards wait for the opportunity to be swept away by someone whom they haphazardly dump a hot cup of coffee on when they “pull” the PUSH door on the way to their dead-end desk job. “Oh Em Gee! It’s serendipitous,” said every chick-flick writer ever. Barf. Chick flicks.  This “natural meeting” depends heavily on the fact that one might have somewhere cool to  go. I work in a female-dominated industry, with nary a single, desirable, eligible male to be found. Other than that I frequent my local Target (soccer dads), grocery store (bitter soccer dads), and the gym, which seemingly has potential, but is actually full of hormonal, pretentious collegiate males without adult responsibilities or drinking chops to rival mine.

I  spend many a night at the bar, drinking beer and whiskey in a desperate attempt to evade the ability to feel feelings. What I’m saying is, I guess that right now, the options don’t really matter. What I bring to the table in a dating situation is that I’m 30, underemployed, and thus residing with a parent. I don’t think I’ll ever stop doing the silly things that push me well over the line of immaturity and into the hot tub of a casino night club. In heels.

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